When clients come to us, we typically hear comments like,
- “Our users complain that they can’t find the information they need.”
- “We spend a lot of time creating content, can’t find what we have, and create the same thing over and over again.”
- “Our search sucks.”
- “We want to know what content performs well, so we can create more of it.”
- “We need to report on the success of the content compared with how much we’ve spent on it.”
- “We want to get into content personalization and we need to build out the structure to do this.”
- “Our stakeholders aren’t aligned on what we’re trying to achieve.”
- “We’ve had a lot of churn and we need to get on the right track.”
Comments like these are music to our ears! While you might not feel like you’re in a good spot, the good news is that you’ve identified a problem and have come to the right people to solve it (at least from a content strategy and structure perspective). All of these issues can be solved and we can turn your problem statements into aspirational statements for the success and value of your content. We approach these issues in a few ways.
Content strategy sets the direction of the content for your organization or website. We focus our content strategy skills on helping you structure your content so that it supports your organization’s strategic goals.
We investigate content issues around workflow from the creation of content through to maintenance and archiving and ask, “What structure is needed behind the content to make this all possible?”
Information architecture helps users navigate the digital spaces. It sets the physical page structure for a website or intranet based on user needs and shows how pages are related. It lays out the global navigation for your site. We work with you to create a site structure that is easily learned, scalable, optimizes use of metadata, taxonomy, and content. Through usability testing, we ensure user-validation of the site structure.
Information architecture can address issues such as reviewing information structures that are difficult to use then planning how best to structure content across the enterprise to ensure your organization is getting the best value.
Taxonomy & Metadata
Taxonomy and metadata provides the foundation for describing what your content is about and are foundational elements for dynamic content display, content reuse, and personalization. Once content is described, users can find it more easily and software and machines can do more with it. We work with you to develop a framework for your metadata and taxonomy, then develop an appropriate taxonomy to meet your business goals.
Taxonomy and metadata can address problems such as a lack of standards in terminology and issues reporting across different systems and teams. Taxonomy and metadata work toward an enterprise-wide, accepted vocabulary and information exchange standards.
Research as the Foundational Piece
Over many years of practice, we’ve learned (sometimes the hard way) that user-centered content strategy, information architecture, and taxonomy requires user research. Our work is most effective when we do research with current or potential users, content authors, and business stakeholders. This research (such as interviews, testing, or facilitated group work) is foundational to all strategy and design work. Without it, you’re throwing your money out the window.