For the taxonomy editors at eContext, categorical organization is all we think about all day, every day. We look for new ways to approach taxonomy and we even find new ways to talk about it. In fact, during interviews, an employee used to pose an unusual question to job candidates: “How do you organize your spice rack?”
This simple question worked so well because it was completely unexpected and showed us how good the candidate could be at thinking fast on his or her feet. It’s also the kind of question that people answer honestly, and the answer would say a lot about how well the candidate might do at his or her job here at eContext where we’ve set out to organize, well, everything into a massive taxonomy of social and commercial topics.
We got a lot of great answers from candidates who proudly announced their strategy to keep the spice rack organized by size, type, use, and alphabetical order. It’s the kind of organization that’s automatically accessible and intuitive, no matter who’s cooking your kitchen (or shopping in your grocery store, come to think of it.)
But we also received well-argued responses that defied our expectations; one candidate grouped his spices according to their frequency-of-use in household favorite recipes. It’s a reminder of how niche-use schemes can have their own value, not to mention how important it is to be cognizant of all the different ways a concept can be classified. Regardless of the approach, a thorough and passionate answer would tell us, “this is a candidate for eContext.”
As we constantly tweak and iterate our taxonomy, we look to other models for inspiration. One taxonomy we love is the Luma Institute’s Taxonomy of Innovation. If you’ve ever wanted a roadmap for bringing an idea to life, all you’ll need to do is follow the steps mapped out in this wonderful interactive taxonomy. Guiding you through the three main stages of innovation — looking, understanding, and making — Luma’s taxonomy helps you explore and understand each step of the process, drilling all the way down to giving you a format to follow for a brainstorming meeting and telling you how many seconds to allow meeting participants to come up with answers.
Luma’s taxonomy is a great way for us to help explain to those outside of our taxonomy-loving bubble what we do. It’s sometimes difficult for everyone to see how important it is to be able to organize data into a deep hierarchy on a web taxonomy, but we find almost everybody has had an idea at one point or another for a new product, and they can quickly relate to the Luma taxonomy, with its deep detail, and see the value it brings to a business process by providing a framework for helping ideas come to life.
Taxonomy and your business
If you have a business that relies on anything digital — a website, digital campaigns, or a social media presence, for example — then taxonomy can help you innovate. You can organize any kind of information about your business or your performance into a taxonomy so that you can see the progression of information and how it affects your business.
In our industry, the starting point is the basic taxonomy set by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). This basic taxonomy covers two tiers and most major commerce categories. However, two tiers is a shallow pool when you consider how much detail you need to get to know your customers better through the data you pull.
eContext is a deep taxonomy, providing a richer way to dive deep into your data by pulling it into a taxonomy with more than 450,000 nodes. With up to 21 tiers of specificity by which you can understand your data, you can always zoom in or out to pull the insights you need at any given time. That flexibility will help you make better decisions about how to present information on your site or how to reach out to potential customers in your digital and social campaigns.
Weather you’re thinking about how to arrange your spice rack, launch the next great product innovation, or structure your web presence, taxonomy can help. And we’re here to help you build a better, deeper taxonomy.
Now, where did we put the cayenne?