In Information Architecture, Taxonomy

Taxonomy is a word many new (and admittedly some seasoned) IA/UX professionals may seek to avoid. In a recent talk for the LAUX Meetup group, Alberta Soranzo and I took some time to de-mystify this term and give a straighforward (and often irreverent) approach to creating a user sensitive taxonomy.

Thanks to LAUX Meetup, and with the support of Ticketmaster/ who lent us their space for the night, we had a crowd of around 140 people (dare I say?) engaged with taxonomy. My favorite slide explored some of the continuums taxonomists might need to consider while creating the ideal taxonomy.

After I walked through a simple case study, Alberta rounded out the night by showing the crowd a simple and valuable online card sorting tool. She also told a bunch of lies, and was able to essentially rick-roll the entire crowd into believing in the powers of “Pre Cognitive Semantic Analysis” to drive home the point that NO, Google can not generate ideal user sensitive taxonomies for us and that YES, we has practitioners have to jump in and get our hands dirty. Watch the video for a great example of some serious IA shenanigans.

Pre Cognitive Semantic Analysis

“PCSA” courtesy of A. Soranzo

By the time the talk was over, attendees were eager to take a swing at ‘taming taxonomy’ themselves. The best thing about the night was people telling us after the talk in person or in emails: “Hey, thanks! Taxonomy isn’t that scary, and I can totally try this!”

At TUG, it’s true that while we love doing the work, we also love teaching others about it, and this event was no exeception. I’m thankful for the opportunity to share my nerdy excitement about taxonomy with others. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions about the talk, slides, or taxonomy in general.

More event details and reviews can be found here:



Taming Taxonomy: A Practical Intro from LA UX MEETUP on Vimeo.

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