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Telling Stories with Narrative Taxonomy

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Austin U. and 3 others


User experience and storytelling go hand in hand. UX professionals consciously apply personas, use case scenarios, underlying narratives, content strategy, and visual elements to provide a stage on which users play. But there is a key element missing in this drama: taxonomy. Much more than mere collections of categories, hierarchies, facets, and navigation elements, taxonomies “narrate the natural relationships between concepts.” That quote is from a 2011 article in Data and Knowledge Engineering, in which three computer scientists introduced the idea of narrative taxonomy (in a big data, complex algorithms, content retrieval context). This session will discuss the implications of narrative taxonomy for user experience design; specific kinds of taxonomy stories; how to recognize, analyze, and apply narrative taxonomies; and the results of user testing against different narrative taxonomy approaches. In UX, taxonomy is primarily addressed by information architects and content strategists, but not always by both at the same time. Narrative taxonomy brings both together.
Questions this session will answer:
• How does a taxonomy tell a story, and what are the narrative elements of that story? How can a UX professional recognize and analyze them without the help of sophisticated database algorithms?
• Why and when is analyzing taxonomy from a narrative perspective helpful to UX design?
• Most importantly, what does narrative taxonomy mean to users?

About Alex O’Neal:
Alex can be seen in the wild in the Austin area, working to optimize user experience wherever she can. Her background includes Fortune 100 companies such as Dell, Texas Instruments, and Nortel, as well as the web’s oldest social network and a medical software dot com. Alex’s professional taxonomy background includes database architecture, personalization, strategy, library cataloging, integration, SEO, and inventing and developing a cognitive science-based, faceted database approach in 2000 for Nortel.. Alex has worked as designer, developer, manager, strategist, trainer, analyst, and product owner across global cross-functional teams. She has two formal articles under her belt:Towards a More Cognitive Knowledge Management, 2000; and Intention-Focused Design: Applying Perceptual Control Theory to Discover User Intent, 2012. Alex’s online database work goes back to 1991, but her web career formally began in 1998 in Dallas, and has taken her to Seattle, Dallas, Santa Clara, Ottawa, and Argentina. Her current obsession is (surprise!) narrative taxonomy.

6:30pm: Chit-chat, pizza, and drinks
7:00-8:00pm: Presentation
Rackspace Austin
9001 N IH35 #150 Austin, TX 78753 · Austin, TX
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