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The design of the structures and schemes used to categorize content and resources in order to make the location and use of resources easier for the intended audience.
An organizational structure is how you define the relationships between pieces of content. Successful structures allow users to predict where they will find information on the site. Organization schemes have to do with how you are going to categorize your content and the various ways you'll create relationships between each piece. Most content can be categorized in multiple ways, including those that are "exact" (like alphabetical, or geographic) and those that are "subjective," such as those based on topics or tasks. Depending on the content, it’s conceivable that a site may combine schemes as opposed to treating them independently.
Category Design is often more effective when it is informed by these complementary methods.
Observation of users performing tasks in their own environment
Observe users in action to understand how they perform tasks to achieve goals
Evaluate two variants of a design find out which of them is more effective
Understanding the perspective and influence of those invested in a project's success
Card sorting is a method used to help design or evaluate the information architecture of a site
Understand the tasks and motivations of the user group for whom you are designing
- Gather data about your users, content, and business context. Conduct a content audit to determine what content you have, run a card sort to learn how your users think about that content, and talk to business stakeholders to understand your organization's priorities.
- Draft a classification scheme that balances a usable distribution of your current (and pending) content, user needs, and business goals.
- Label your categories with terms that match user mental models and align with business and brand priorities.
- Test your system (tree testing and interactive prototypes are good for this) and revise your category scheme as needed.
Category Design typically produces insight and solutions focused on these areas:
The arrangement and structure of categories used to classify content and resources.