Taming Taxonomy Interview with Jessica DuVerneay and Alberta Soranzo

Taming Taxonomy Interview with Jessica DuVerneay and Alberta Soranzo

Last month's Los Angeles User Experience Meetup event regarding Taxonomy offered the Media Contour team an excellent opportunity to learn about and develop a better understanding of website taxonomy. Media Contour had the chance to conduct a pre-show interview with speakers Jessica DuVerneay and Alberta Soranzo.Jessica DuVerneay is an information architect at the Understanding Group. Alberta Soranzo is both the manager of user experience and strategy at the UCLA Center for Health Policy and Research and senior information architect at the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights. They are both highly regarded in the fields of information architecture and user experience. Below are excerpts from the interview which cover the main ideas of their presentation.

Why Add Taxonomy to a Website

The first major topic of discussion focused on the core definition of taxonomy in the context of website design.

JESSICA DUVERNEAY: The first thing I want to say is that it's not something you just add to your project. It's not like if you get this service you should get this service too, and if you get wireframes, you might as well get functional specs. At least that’s the way that I look at it. It’s like, is it even a problem? For some clients it may not be a problem. If you're working in a really small property and your language is very clear, very domain specific or there's industry standards that are really easy to follow, not everybody needs a taxonomy. It is more for you know the thing that I'm seeing, why it's really relevant right now is because so many people are taking their old kind of main site and they are trying, they are realizing that the strategy of creating 15 micro-sites each time they have a new launch or a new iteration of a product. It has not been serving them well because they have confusing language. Something is called a shirt over here, it is called a blouse over here. You can't track SEO events. And really, I mean if you are going to look at it from a high level taxonomy, it just gives you an agreed upon structure that increases learnability and the findability of the your content on your website. That is the high level answer.

“Something is called a shirt over here, it is called a blouse over here. You can't track SEO events.” Jessica Duverneay
8 Common Web Design Mistakes That Ruin User Experience (UX)

8 Common Web Design Mistakes That Ruin User Experience (UX)

Throughout the Internet you can find all manner of articles and blogs dedicated to telling you exactly what you need to do to create the perfect website design for mobile devices. You’ll hear different opinions on content, context, and outright design features that are a must for your site to be successful on the mobile web. However, few of these articles and blogs address the mobile website design issues that could be holding your site back, like these.

Overwhelming text

People who are using the mobile web are often people who are on the go. They want to look information up quickly and with as little pain in the process as possible. Don’t make them scroll through a ton of information they don’t need in order to find what they’re looking for. Less, really is more, when it comes to mobile website design content.

Use of Pop Ups

Pop ups are annoying in the best of times, and downright loathsome in the worst. On mobile devices, they can be completely problematic. It’s best to disable them altogether on your mobile website design for the convenience of users if nothing else.

Make Life Easier With An Efficient Content Management System

Make Life Easier With An Efficient Content Management System

There was once a time when updating a website – even doing a very minor update – required you to have a working knowledge of HTML. That time has long since passed. Today, website designers can provide you with ways to update your own site using a content management system that makes it just as easy as updating the newsfeed on your social media profile or updating your Twitter feed. Here's how it works.

Update Your Website: What Social Media Feeds Do You Need?

Update Your Website: What Social Media Feeds Do You Need?

If you're going to update your website, one of the things you're going to want to do for certain is to take advantage of what social media has to offer. There are some elements of social media websites that are vastly overblown in terms of how their advertising potential is described. There are other elements of the sites, however, where the realities do live up to the hype. Here are some of the feeds you will definitely want to have connected to or displayed directly on your own website.

Image Feeds

Flickr and other image sharing websites can sometimes be added to your own website in the form of a stream. If you happen to be a photographer, this is a sensible and useful addition to your website. Many photographers use these websites because it allows them to store a huge number of photos online without having to have those photos stored on their own server. Ask your website designer about having your photo feeds included when you update your website.

Update Your Website : Tips On How To Collaborate With A Designer

Update Your Website : Tips On How To Collaborate With A Designer

If you're not a particularly technical person, it's always a little bit intimidating to go into the offices of a service provider and discuss what you need. If you are looking to update your website, here are some things you can do to make the process easier and to facilitate better communication with your website designer, ensuring that all of your needs are met and that the website designers themselves are aware of those needs.

Meet In-House First

If you don't own and operate a website on your own, there are probably quite a few people involved in maintaining your website. You want to make certain that you meet with all of these people first so that they can voice any concerns they have so these are taken in to account when you update your website. In particular, talk to the people who are responsible for updating your website. You need to know if they are having any issues that are making work difficult for them that can be resolved as you update your website.

Update Your Website : Maximizing Your Site’s Social Media

Update Your Website : Maximizing Your Site’s Social Media

There is a great deal of marketing information these days that has to do with social media. In fact, social media, in some regards, is being played up to the extent that businesses may be becoming a bit too grand in their expectations of what it can do. It's important to remember that the website you actually own is much different than any social media site in an important regard: you have complete control over it. If you're updating your website, you may want to do so while keeping in mind that you can update your website in a way that takes social media into account but that does not make your entire marketing effort dependent upon social media.

Update Your Website : Optimize Your Site For Retina Screens

Update Your Website : Optimize Your Site For Retina Screens

The display quality of desktop computers, mobile devices and just about everything with the screen on it is increasing constantly. Lately, HD and retina displays have become standard features on just about every new device. These displays have some beautiful resolution. Watching videos on them is amazing compared to what it was before the new generation of displays hit the market. The iPad and other Apple mobile devices, in particular, are known for their tremendous display quality. This has some important implications for when you update your website.

Update Your Website : Implementing Changes That Help Fight Spam

Update Your Website : Implementing Changes That Help Fight Spam

Spam is one of the greatest threats to your website.  Luckily, there are strategies you can employ to help fight spam as you update your website.  Today, there are more types of spam than there were in the past. In the past, the term referred specifically to unsolicited commercial e-mails, but today it refers to blog posts that are designed to advertise something rather than to inform or entertain, pages that provide links to sites that have no value to the person clicking them and to other online scams that trick people into clicking on something that is malicious, deceptive or otherwise undesirable.Fighting against spam oftentimes employs technological and human solutions. Here are some basics that you should understand.

Update Your Website : How Old Web Design Harms Your Business

Update Your Website : How Old Web Design Harms Your Business

Poor website design can make your website look outdated. There are very real consequences to this. For example, if a customer has the option of shopping on your website or a website that looks much more current, it's likely that they're going to pick the current site. Here are some ways that web design can make your company look as outdated as your website and the importance of refreshing your design as you update your website.

Security Issues

Everybody who uses the Internet understands that security is a major issue. When your website looks outdated, it's a natural conclusion for people that your security is probably outdated, as well. If they're asked to enter their credit card number on a page that looks like it was designed in 1997, they'll likely have some justifiable hesitation.  This why it's important to update your website with a fresh design.Keeping your site fresh looking gives the impression that your company spends a lot of time developing and redeveloping what they put on the web. If you have a well-designed, modern site, it's a lot easier for people to have confidence in it.  Keep this in mind when you are ready to update your website.

Update Your Website : Noticing Trends and When to Update Dated Sites

Update Your Website : Noticing Trends and When to Update Dated Sites

Take a look at your webpage. Does it look as good as your competitor's webpages? Does it look dated and maybe like it was made sometime in the 1990s? There are a lot of different ways that you can make this assessment and determine when to update your website, but one of the most useful is to take a look at the current trends in web design and to see whether or not your site is incorporating any of them. Remember, not all trends are good ones, but there definitely are some great ideas out there right now.

Columns

One of the most common features you'll see on modern webpages is a columnar layout. Most webpages these days are two- or three-column affairs. This allows the website owners to get a great deal of content on the webpage without crowding it out. If you're still on a primitive one-column website, it's a good idea to talk to a web designer about adding columns when you update your website. One of the reasons you may want to do this is that it actually allows you to cut down on the number of pages on your website.

Update Your Website : The Importance of Updating Static Content

Update Your Website : The Importance of Updating Static Content

Just about 100 percent of the websites out there have a combination of content that is more or less static and content that is dynamic. For example, many websites have a blog section that is updated on a regular basis. This would be an example of a dynamic form of content. It's always changing, it's regularly renewed with new materials and the search engines tend to notice this. The static content on the website includes things such as the "About Us" page, the "Contact Us" page, and so forth. It is important to update static content as well and not only your dynamic content when you are update your website.Believe it or not, it's a good idea to update the static content once in a while. Obviously, a lot of this information isn't going to change. There are real advantages to updating, however.

New Technology

If you take a look at most of the contact information pages on modern websites, they'll have a map on them – usually from Google Maps or another, similar, service – along with the phone number, address and so forth. It wasn't too long ago that most contact pages only had the name, address and phone number that applied on them. Updating these pages when you update your website to include new content that's only recently become available is a great way to keep your site fresh and offer your visitors something at the same time.

Update Your Website : When To Consider Updating Your Graphics

Update Your Website : When To Consider Updating Your Graphics

Even if your website is very content heavy, your graphics play a huge part in the impression that people take away from it. If your graphics are looking dated, you may well want to consider having them updated when you update your website. Even if you're not ready for a full site redesign, simply updating your graphics can do a lot to improve the quality of your site. Here are some things that should make you consider having your graphics updated.

Pixelation

Some outdated graphics suffer from pixelation. Pixilation is usually seen in the form of rough edges around the borders where colors join or where the graphic actually starts. You may also notice it in some types of lettering.Having a graphic designer take care of this when you update your website can make your website look much more professional. Computer technology where graphics are concerned is much more advanced than it used to be. There is absolutely no reason that your graphics should not look as clear and sharp on a computer screen as they would in print.

Update Your Website - Budget Friendly Ways To Refresh Your Site

Update Your Website - Budget Friendly Ways To Refresh Your Site

Not everybody who approaches a website redesign project has a lot of money to spend on it. Fortunately, there are ways that you can update your website and make it a lot more modern and attractive without spending a great deal of money. Here are some strategies to help you do that.

Get a Consultation

The first thing you want to do when you update your website is get a web designer to consult with you about what really needs to be done with your website. They'll be able to identify things such as technical shortcomings, elements of the website that might be out of compliance with World Wide Web Consortium standards, navigation menus that are broken and so forth. It might not cost that much for you to get all of these items fixed. If you want to proceed with a more extensive redesign when you update your website, you will at least be starting from a good point.

Update Your Website: Changing Your Site's Multimedia Content Delivery

Update Your Website: Changing Your Site's Multimedia Content Delivery

Multimedia content delivery is a very big consideration for any website. If you're streaming or offering multimedia content from your own server, you're likely utilizing a great deal of bandwidth to do it. There are improved ways of delivering content compared to what was available in the past. Having a professional web designer take a look at this and see if there are improvements that could be made could be very beneficial for you when you update your website.

Formats

If you started offering video or audio on your site a long time ago, there's a good chance that you're using a format that may not be optimal. When formats for streaming improve, it's generally an improvement in compression. If you are using very large files to deliver content, you may be consuming unnecessary bandwidth for no appreciable benefit. Having a web design expert take a look when you update your website at how you are delivering content in terms of format may reveal that you have a lot of options available for reducing bandwidth without compromising quality.

Update Your Website : 5 Great Updates For Tired Sites

Update Your Website : 5 Great Updates For Tired Sites

Are you sick of looking at your website? When getting ready to update your website, consider these five ways to make your site a lot more interesting place to surf.

1: The Colors

Even if you have a color scheme to which your company is very attached, you may be able to update it a bit and give your site a new look. Talk to a web designer about enhancing the colors by making them brighter, sharper and so forth when you update your website. You may also want to talk to them about incorporating your color scheme into areas of the site such as borders, which can make your site more interesting to look at.

Update Your Website - Revising Layouts for Content Heavy Sites

Update Your Website - Revising Layouts for Content Heavy Sites

Ideally, your website will grow and thrive once you get it online. One of the difficulties associated with this type of growth, however, is the fact that a website that grows very quickly may end up becoming very crowded and hard to navigate. This necessitates an update in layout, which is something web designers can help you with when you update your website.

Old Sites

Older websites used to have very simple layouts. In fact, one-column websites were relatively common. These are fine if you have a very simple promotional website with a little bit of content on it; a few pictures and so forth. When you start adding content, however, it becomes increasingly difficult for people to find their way around your site.Even if they find the page where a piece of content that they want to read is printed, the user may have to scroll a lot to actually locate the article and that can make them go away in frustration.Updating the layout on old sites oftentimes means updating the scheme under which the content is arranged. If you have a professional web designer take a look at your site, they may be able to identify ways in which they can improve the layout when you update your website so that it is easier for people to find specific content. This may include adding different types of headings for articles, adding or removing columns and so forth as you update your website.

Update Your Website - Add Automatic Social Media Feeds To Your Site

Update Your Website - Add Automatic Social Media Feeds To Your Site

One of the truly innovative things you can do to update your website is to add features that allow you to automatically update your social media feeds. This eliminates the need for the people who handle your Internet marketing to update your social media feeds individually after making an update to your website.

The Concept

Sites such as Twitter, Facebook and other social media giants do have tools that work with them and that allow you to update them regularly. In fact, there are tools available that you can incorporate when you update your website that allow you to update your social media sites on a schedule. Your Internet marketing people, using these tools, could make several updates for these feeds and schedule them to deploy automatically.This can save a great deal of time and money and increase the return on investment you get from your website and is a great addition when you update your website. It also allows you to do something very important, given the fact that many social media sites are coming up with various payment schemes for companies that use them for largely advertising purposes.

Update Your Website - Renewing Color Schemes To Revitalize Your Site

Update Your Website - Renewing Color Schemes To Revitalize Your Site

One of the most important aspects of your website is the color scheme that you use. Sometimes, a site that looks dated and stale may benefit from a new color scheme. Here are some things to consider if you want to update your color scheme to breathe some fresh life into your old site when you update your website.

What Colors Mean

People tend to interpret colors in particular ways. For example, red is commonly associated with power. The same is true of black. Blue tends to be associated with trust and green tends to make people feel relaxed. You'll want to learn a little bit about the psychology of color before you decide upon a new color scheme when you update your website.Remember that a color scheme doesn't have to involve many different colors. For example, many banking and other financial sites utilize blue color schemes because of the trust that the color tends to engender in people. You could utilize several different shades of blue rather than trying to find a good two- or three-color theme for your website.

Update Your Website : Using Minimalism to Improve Speed and Usability

Update Your Website : Using Minimalism to Improve Speed and Usability

Because just about everybody is on a broadband Internet connection these days, site designers have become bolder about including sizable elements in websites. These include videos, complex animations, very large images and complex page structures. Unfortunately, for some users, these elements do slow down their computers quite a bit and make websites load more slowly. Given a choice between a fast loading website and your slow loading website, most visitors are going to choose the fast site. Here are some ways to speed yours up when you update your website.

Check the Code

Have a web developer look at the code that underpins your website. This is particularly useful if your website has been online for a long time and has had many alterations made to it or if your website was worked on by several different designers over the course of its lifespan. A designer may be able to go through and find code errors that will cause the site to load more slowly or that will cause certain elements not to function correctly.

Update Your Website : Retaining Visitors and When to Link Offsite

Update Your Website : Retaining Visitors and When to Link Offsite

Internet users are easily distracted. The Internet, when it works the way it should, provides one of the best ways for people to get information and to find related information by simply clicking on a link. This is a great set up for research and learning, but it's not always the best set up for commerce sites. If you need to retain visitors on your site, you have to know when you should not encourage them to leave by presenting them with a rather interesting link. Here are some great linking strategies for when you update your website.

SEO and Linking

Anyone who has studied search engine optimization knows that adding links from your site to useful resources tends to make your site appear more worthwhile in the eyes of the search engines. The trick is not to overdo this when you update your website. You want the benefits you get from those links for search engine optimization, but you don't want to create a situation where most of your visitors show up on your page, read a few paragraphs and then immediately go elsewhere because one of your links encourages them to do so.You'll definitely want links off of your site to other sites that have genuinely useful and related information, but you need to do it in a way that retains visitors, which is something of a challenge when you update your website.

Update Your Website : Avoid Elements That Frustrate Mobile Users

Update Your Website : Avoid Elements That Frustrate Mobile Users

If you depend upon the Internet for business purposes, there's a good chance that you already have a mobile device. Mobile device usage has skyrocketed as the devices themselves have become more powerful, more flexible and people have begun to use them for the types of tasks that they used to perform only on their desktop computers. When you're planning to update your website, you want to make certain that you avoid some of the common pitfalls that make mobile sites very frustrating for users.

Size

Mobile devices come with screens in many different sizes, but human beings, for the most part, are similar in size from one to the next. This means that just about everybody's fingers take up a certain amount of room on their mobile device's screens when they try to navigate a webpage. Generally speaking, any navigation link on your site should be between 30 and 40 pixels in size.  Keep this in mind when you update your website.Small navigation links – or other types of links – are intensely frustrating for mobile users. If you haven't experienced this frustration for yourself, open the normal version of a website on your mobile device and try to tap on a link with your finger. You'll find that, not only will you tend to hit the wrong link, you'll have a hard time figuring out exactly where your finger actually presses onto the screen. When you update your website, adding navigation elements that are adequately sized can make your site much easier for your users to navigate and will encourage them to explore your site further.

Update Your Website : Should You Change Your Fonts?

Update Your Website : Should You Change Your Fonts?

When you are ready to update your website, there is a temptation to update every single aspect of that site. One of the things, however, that tends to get overlooked is the font selection on your site. Most of the time, font selection is rather easy. If you have a very content heavy site, however, you may want to consider this as a way to give your website a new look.

Update Your Website: How to Write Great SEO Headlines

Update Your Website: How to Write Great SEO Headlines

If you remember the days of newspapers, you'll remember that what got you to read them wasn't actually the news, it was the headlines. Writing headlines is equally important in the world of search engine optimization. If you understand how to write headlines, you'll do a lot better at getting the maximum value out of your search engine optimization content when you update your website. Because we're talking about blogs and not newspapers, however, headlines are referred to as titles. They do serve the same function as headlines, however.

Match Your Content

One of the worst possible things you can do for search engine optimization is write titles that do not match the content that follows them. In order to give your visitors the greatest value out of your website, they should be able to understand that any title on your site does relate directly to the content that follows. The advantage in doing this is not only for your visitors. Making sure your content matches your titles gives you a reason to use your keywords in your title, which is vital for search engine optimization and is an important tool when you update your website.

Update Your Website : Using Columns To Organize Content

Update Your Website : Using Columns To Organize Content

Of all the innovations that have come into the web design world in recent years, columnar designs are among the most compelling. This is a great technique to use when you update your website. These designs allow a great deal of information to be placed on a page in a very logical way. If you're not clear on exactly what defines these designs, it's basically dividing the page up vertically so that each of the different vertical sections can hold different information and keep it separate from the other information on the page. It's very similar to how newspapers are laid out.

Update Your Website: How To Find Stock Images That Grab Attention.

Update Your Website: How To Find Stock Images That Grab Attention.

If you’re trying to update your website and you do not have the financial means to take all your own original photos (don’t worry, most companies don’t), then it is likely you will be travelling to what seems to be an infinite well of stock photos. This well is chock-full of images ranging from the useful and generic “businessman holding a smartphone” image:

Man on cell phone stock footage example

to something much more specific and downright unusable:[caption id="attachment_936" align="alignleft" width="367"]

Man with a pineapple for a head

In our constant efforts to help you update your website, we have come up with a small list of guidelines to help you find a stock photo that is perfect for your message.

Update your Website: 3 Common Website Design Mistakes

Update your Website: 3 Common Website Design Mistakes

When you update your website design, there is a lot to take into consideration. Sometimes, along the way, some common website design mistakes tend to manifest. These are things that you can avoid by simply doing a bit of planning ahead and by working closely with your designers to make certain that when you update your website they adhere to good practices.

Disorganization

Sometimes, people will get so focused on the content of their site that they'll forget that it needs to be organized in a logical way. Make certain you put some thought into how you're going to organize your site, particularly if it is a large site. The more information you have, the more imperative it is that people are able to navigate their way through it without getting confused, becoming frustrated and simply giving up.

When you update your website, it's a good idea to have a plan mapped out for your pages. You can do this with your designer or you can do it on your own. One good way to do it is simply to use a flowchart format to indicate how each of the pages is linked to one another and the position that each of them occupies in the hierarchy of your site.

Update Your Website: Using A CMS To Save Time and Money

Update Your Website: Using A CMS To Save Time and Money

We want to get you up to speed on what is going on in the world of web design in quick and easy chunks. So in our inaugural edition of “Update Your Website” we want to get you up to speed on one of the most important tools your modern website should have: a CMS, or “content management system”.

Smart Writing: 6 Steps To Plan Your Blog Like A Pro. PART 1.

Smart Writing: 6 Steps To Plan Your Blog Like A Pro. PART 1.

Just like every good idea, a good blog starts with a plan. In an effort to help your team produce better articles, I have compiled this in-depth itinerary to plot out your future texts, no need to thank me, a statue of gold and gift card to Etsy will suffice:

Idea Plan Action Image

Step 1: Select/assign positions

Before stepping into battle it is important to define the roles and responsibilities of each job necessary to craft an excellent piece of writing. Keep in mind that these parameters are made for a “best-case scenario” type of situation; meaning that you have the access and resources available to staff each of these positions and set enough time aside so there isn’t a deadline looming ominously over everyone's head (although some seem to prefer the tight deadline situation). If you don’t have the aforementioned resources, jobs may overlap or even be all one person.

Writer

Your writer is the one who crafts the words. The builder of the story. A good writer or blogger needn’t be stout with honors or have the smooth prose of Hemingway. A good writer merely needs to be passionate about the subject he is writing on and stick to the point. Consider the type of piece you are writing and determine who is the best suited to create that article. Sometimes it’s the guy with the English background who can build flourishing worlds and create descriptive narratives that enthrall the reader more and more by the line. But for other projects, you may need the methodical accountant tucked away in the back room who can pragmatically spell out detailed lists in a way that a reader can digest. The abilities of a writer come from his grey matter, what he or she does special outside of pen and ink. Tap the right person for the right topic and anyone can become a journalistic dynamo.

Smart Writing: 6 Steps To Plan Your Blog Like A Pro PART 2

Smart Writing: 6 Steps To Plan Your Blog Like A Pro PART 2

Man and woman at desk stock photo example

This is part two of our article on structuring and preparing a blog for part one click here. This half of the blog will cover the topics of writing, proofreading/editing and publication.

Step 3: Write

Draft

Now we finally get to the creation of your article. If your research, interviews, and outline were done thoroughly, this shouldn't take too much time, just a matter of plugging in the pieces and bridging the gaps with some opinion, summary statements, and maybe even a joke or two. Once you feel like you’ve compiled something worthwhile, put a period at the end and go to the next step: editing.

Keep Your Website Alive and Thriving with Regular Maintenance

Keep Your Website Alive and Thriving with Regular Maintenance

Practically every business knows they need to keep their services and offerings fresh and up-to-date if they want to please their customers. The same is true for websites. Search engines and visitors alike become bored with old, outdated websites that fail to offer anything new. Broken links, antiquated news and dated content cripple your website, impairing your ability to attract new traffic.

Just as your car needs a tune up now and then to run at its best, your website needs regular maintenance too. Regular maintenance is what enables your site to perform at peak function and stay profitable in the long run. Depending on your business, your website and your visitors, keeping your website current can involve a variety of procedures.

If you rely on your business to attract visitors who then contact you to purchase services, your website maintenance schedule is likely to involve:

  • · Adding or updating content such as copy, pictures, and blogs at least bi-weekly.
  • · Deleting or archiving old content.
  • · Adding new services or special offers.
  • · Updating, repairing or removing broken links.
  • · Verifying and ensuring website security.
  • · Analyzing and reporting on site traffic and other relevant statistics.
  • · Submitting your site to search engines, directories, and niche sites.