Case Study

 Taxonomy for UX, Faceted Web Search & Navigation 



This consumer electronics retailer was ranked in the lower 30% of the top ten e-commerce sites in terms of navigation effectiveness by an independent third party. Customers experienced difficulty finding certain products. There was a lack of balance in navigational categories with inconsistent and un-user-friendly labels.

There was a lack of in-house knowledge and use of data management best practices. There was also a significant lack of experience with attribute based navigation application of taxonomies. Decisions were often made strictly from the perspective of commercial goals or internal political views rather than from the perspective of the impact on customers and users of the site.


Earley Information Science engaged the full range of stakeholders, including merchandisers and senior management, in understanding the role of taxonomy in developing new customer-facing capabilities.

The EIS team analyzed customer and key user personas and tasks in the creation of user scenarios that would determine success of both the immediate project and longer term program.

The team developed metrics for usability and taxonomy effectiveness  that would provide unambiguous, irrefutable, data-driven, success measures.  These metrics helped  satisfy the highly diverse business stakeholder community in which consistent and synergistic decision making had been challenging.


The site ranked as number 1 using the same criteria after implementation. Significant  online customer experience improvements were made, aligning the company's product presentation among the best in industry approaches and standards. Dramatic improvements were experienced in search and findability, ranging  from 5% to 95% in some categories. There were also improved heuristic best practices scores from a 14% pass to a 95% pass.

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