Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Measuring the success of a classification system

Improvements to card-based classification ...

"When working with government and large private organizations on complex information systems, project managers and business representatives often demand early-stage validation that the proposed classification system provides the user-friendly solution they are charged with delivering. They also require this validation in a format that will be engaging for senior business stakeholders.

I developed the following enhancement to Donna Maurer’s card-based classification evaluation technique as a direct response to a client that wanted to engage with the process of restructuring their content-heavy intranet. My client knew the current classification structure was ineffective at enabling users to find the information they required, but they felt the process of developing an alternate structure would be complicated and contentious due to differences of opinion between senior stakeholders. My client requested quantitative data to validate that the proposed classification system was an improvement on the existing structure. They also had tight timescales and budgetary constraints.

Having previously used card-based classification evaluation to obtain qualitative insights into labeling and the general effectiveness of a classification system, I felt there was an opportunity to enhance the technique and deliver just the kind of information my client demanded without breaking their budgetary constraints.

Key differences between this and standard card-based classification evaluation

The two key differences between this and standard card-based classification evaluation are the way in which the captured data is analyzed, and that the technique should be conducted in a number of rapid iterations throughout the development of the classification system so that any improvements can be identified.

How to conduct card-based classification evaluation

Card-based classification evaluation should be conducted in exactly the same way as described in Donna Maurer’s article. For those unfamiliar with the technique, what follows is a précis of how the technique is conducted. For more detailed instructions see Donna’s article.

1. Transfer the top 3 or 4 levels of the classification system you wish to evaluate onto index cards. On the first card, put all of the top level categories. On each subsequent card place the next level of classification labels."    (Continued via Boxes and Arrows)    [Usability Resources]

Top Level Categories - Usability, User Interface Design

Top Level Categories

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