Supporting the ‘Tame Taxonomy’ workshop

Our good friends Alberta Soranzo and Jessica DuVerneay are running a Taxonomy workshop for the Information Architecture Summit in sunny San Diego (26-30th March 2014). So let's hear from the organizers themselves on what's involved in the workshop. They also say some nice things about us. Thanks guys!

The Right Tool for our IA Summit 2014 Workshop

“Optimal Workshop sponsors upcoming taxonomy workshop at the IA Summit in San Diego”

On the 27th of March 2014, we (Alberta Soranzo and Jessica DuVerneay) will be presenting Taming Taxonomy: A Practical Intro at the fifteenth annual Information Architecture Summit, in San Diego, CA. This workshop will cover the following topics:

What is taxonomy?

  • Why should taxonomy be part of IA and UX projects?
  • How can you balance user needs and business needs when creating a taxonomy?
  • What are some tools and processes that are helpful when creating a taxonomy?
  • What part does user research play in taxonomy creation?
  • How can taxonomy be applied cross channel to most benefit a company or organization?

Working together in teams, workshop participants will create a taxonomy for a fictitious (and in our opinions, hilariously unorthodox) travel agency. Armed with pre-created business information, personas, strategic continuums, and identified terms, the workshop participants will get to try their hand at creating a strategic and user sensitive taxonomy.

One of the highlights of the workshop will be the inclusion of user research that we created prior to the session using OptimalSort’s new hybrid card sorting tool.

Why OptimalSort? We're glad you asked!

Every information architect worth their title knows that there a multitude of ways and tools out there to do a card sorting exercise. Donna Spencer, in her card-sorting bible Card Sorting—Designing Usable Categories, offers a wealth of practical tips and advises that the practical challenge with this exercise lies in the collection and analysis of results, because of the potentially large amount of data collected. Mike Rice has created a fantastic spreadsheet to help analyze card sorting data, but the amount of manual labor involved can be significant depending on the size of the test.

Optimal Sortmakes it a snap to run a card sorting test, not to mention collecting and analysing results. Running an online test, which is what we opted for, is as easy as deciding which terms will be the object of the test (and entering in the super-intuitive interface, of course!), establishing its parameter (open, closed or the new hybrid mode) and then let the system work its magic. In case one preferred to run an offline test, the system allows for the creation of barcoded cards that can be printed, sorted and then scanned back into OptimalSort for analysis.

The results of the exercise are presented in a clear, visually appealing manner and a variety of formats (dendograms, similarity matrices and more) and can be exported together with the raw data, for sharing, manual analysis and inclusion in other documents.

Want to find out more about everything that OptimalSort can do for your taxonomy projects? Join us in San Diego for a morning of learning, irreverent fun and, it goes without saying, card sorting with OptimalSort!


We want to thank Optimal Workshop’s generous support of our workshop. Not only did they allow us to be some of the first folks to test their hybrid card sort tool for the creation of our workshop materials, they are generously offering a two-month trial to any of the Optimal Workshop tools to all people who register and attend the taxonomy workshop in San Diego. This will allow all attendees to try their hand at the knowledge they learned at our workshop back at the office.

Join Us

If you are interested in leveling up and improving your taxonomy game, please register for the workshop. If you have any questions about what will be covered, please feel free to reach out to either of us. Thanks for reading and hope to see you in San Diego!

Alberta Soranzo and Jessica DuVerneay are information architects and taxonomy nerds.


Alberta is based in London and works at Friday

( @albertatrebla


Jessica is based in Los Angeles and works with The Understanding Group

( @jduverneay

Published on Mar 20, 2014
Alan O'Neill
  • Alan O'Neill
  • Alan is Optimal Workshop's marketing manager and digital lightbulb. He's Irish, loves surfing, and has a weird fascination with Red Pandas. Find him on @optimalworkshop or @optimalAlan

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