Website Taxonomy Guidelines And Tips: How Best To Organize Your Site

Website Taxonomy Guidelines And Tips: How Best To Organize Your Site

Columnist Shari Thurow explains the ins and outs of taxonomies and why creating and maintaining them should be a key part of your marketing strategy.

Let’s play a word association game. Before we begin, clear your thoughts. Try to stay focused on this game only. Are you ready?

What comes to mind when I say and write the word taxonomy?

As mental models differ from person to person, I am reasonably sure that I will get many different answers. Information architects have word and image associations with the word taxonomy that others might not have. Computer programmers and Web developers might have different image and word associations than others.

And some people, if I were able to see their facial expressions, seem confused. They might not use this word in their daily work and personal lives.

With so many potential personal definitions of taxonomy it’s no wonder there’s confusion on how it applies to Web design. That’s why I’ll be walking through the concept and how Web professionals should apply it, in this column.

Though a commercial Web search engine is not a human being, and thus, does not have a personal mental model, we can see how Google might interpret the word. Here is what I see.

I performed a query for the word taxonomy. As Google does not know my context, the search results look like the following screenshot. At the top of search results, I am presented with a definition of taxonomy from Google’s Knowledge Graph and two search listings from Wikipedia.

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