Past Meetup

Heather Hedden Presents: "Taxonomy Displays: Bridging UX & Taxonomy Design"

This Meetup is past

65 people went

Price: $10.00 /per person
Location image of event venue


As we design for complex information environments, taxonomy design and user experience must collaborate with more depth and understanding in order to create a truly usable experience. Heather Hedden, author of The Accidental Taxonomist, joins us to explore how the expertise and perspectives from both taxonomy design and UX benefit a strong taxonomy display. She'll also walk us through choosing a taxonomy display style for various types of content, keeping your users in mind when choosing a taxonomy display style, and other considerations when designing a taxonomy display.

AND - Heather will be signing copies of her book, The Accidental Taxonomist, prior to her talk. Arrive at 6:30 to get your copy signed! If you'd like to buy a book, they will be for sale for $20 each, cash only.

6:30pm - 7:00 Doors open, networking, book sales & signing (cash only for book sales, $20 for a copy of The Accidental Taxonomist)

7:00 - 8:00 Introductions & Speaker

8:00 - 8:30 Q&A and Wrap-Up

About The Talk

Taxonomies, Topic Trees, Navigational Hierarchies, Subject Browse, Faceted Navigation, Guided Search… Designing these displayable methods of findability for content-rich sites or data repositories requires the expertise and perspectives of both the user experience professional and the taxonomy/information science professional. But these are usually different people with different backgrounds and perspectives, who need to collaborate. Traditional “best practices” in each discipline (UX and taxonomy) need to be flexible and adaptable, though. Taxonomy designs need to take user interfaces into consideration, and user display designs may need to accommodate possibly large, complex, and growing taxonomies.

Based on the chapter “Taxonomy Displays” from the presenter’s book, The Accidental Taxonomist (2010), this presentation looks at both various hierarchical displays (such as one-level-per-screen and expandable trees) and fielded or faceted search. Opening with a summary of definitions and a brief introduction to taxonomies, this session will examine the following issues among others:

• which display style is more suitable for different kinds of content

• what is more suitable for different kinds of users

• how to balance depth versus breadth in a hierarchical taxonomy

• what to consider in wording of taxonomy term labels

• what are the options for sorting the order of taxonomy terms

At the conclusion of the presentation, we will also look into the role of taxonomists, reviewing a past survey and planning for a new survey.

About Heather Hedden

Heather has been a taxonomist in various positions for 20 years. She is a senior vocabulary editor at Cengage Learning, previous taxonomy consultant with Hedden Information Management ( and other consultancies, author of the book The Accidental Taxonomist and its blog (, taxonomy course instructor through Simmons College School of Library and Information Science Continuing Education program ( and the American Society for Indexing Online Learning program (, and newly elected board member of the American Society for Indexing (