How to Validate a Taxonomy

  • Taxonomy is the key to being able to supply the appropriate content in dynamic user interfacesand supporting information services such as personalization (e.g., portals), syndication (e.g., RSS feeds), and harvesting (e.g., search). Taxonomy development and validation is on the application development critical path. Effective methods to provide confidence that the taxonomy is good enough to develop against is very important.


    The goal of taxonomy testing is to confirm that a taxonomy will work for tagging content, publishing content, and finding and using content in user-facing applications. This workshop will discuss taxonomy validation methods, present case studies that go beyond typical card sorting, and conduct hands-on activities for participants.

    The validation methods include:

    • Working with most popular queries
    • Delphi card sorting
    • Task-based usability

    What You’ll Learn

    The workshop will describe metrics for successful task completion and consensus, and best practices around evaluating validation test results. Topics covered will include:

    • Need for taxonomy validation
    • Description of typical card sorting methods
    • Strengths and weaknesses of typical card sorting methods
    • Alternative card sorting methods
    • Benefits and outcomes of alternative sorting methods
    • Analyzing and presenting results of alternative sorting methods
    • Case studies of alternative methods
    • Description of task-based test methods
    • Strengths and weaknesses of task-based methods
    • How to analyze and present results of task-based methods
    • Case studies of task-based validation methods