UX and Information Architecture Basics for Technical Writers

Learn 3 taxonomy development and 2 card sorting techniques for designing info architecture and user experience research

3.80 (24 reviews)


3 hours


Feb 2021

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What you will learn

Lean skills required to become an information architect and user experience expert

You will be able to explain what is metadata, taxonomy and classification

You will be able to create a taxonomy needed to classify your products

You will be able to organize a Card Sorting workshop to define the information architecture for your documentation web pages

You will be able to explain the exact steps to run a closed card sorting workshop

You will be able to explain the exact steps to run an open card sorting workshop


Are you a technical writer, looking to learn the basics of information architecture? Are you looking for ways to properly target your audience, to enhance their user experience?

If you want your readers to easily find and retrieve your content, you need to invest in information architecture design and development. This will help you transform your content from simple "boring product documentation" into "intelligent information"?

To enable the efficient consumption of your documentation, the customers need to find it in an intuitive way.

The art and science of organizing your information deliverables are called information architecture.

One of the most important first steps towards organizing the information architecture is to define the terminology and organize it into a taxonomy you will use to structure and organize this content.

You need a taxonomy to define:

- define metadata, needed for machine learning, search, and retrieval;

- define the categories and values used to organize the information on the web page;

- achieve a common understanding and define terminology to be used consistently in the software documentation, the software, and the customer's front end - on your web pages

- the correct definition of the subjects to be used in a DITA XML subject scheme map;

Having high-quality metadata for your content often is the key differentiator between success and failure!

To build high-quality content that is ready to be used in an intelligent way, a technical writer must prepare and provide some form of pre-classified content.

The best way to collect and organize such metadata is by developing a taxonomy.

In this course you will learn:

- Which are the benefits you will get from applying the strategies for building taxonomies to your content;

- Understand important terms and their explanations with IT examples;

- 3 specific strategies that will save you a ton of time in creating a taxonomy: using a standard, a description, or by comparison;

But we do not stop here. How will you know if your taxonomy is a valid one? What your customers think about it and is it helpful or not? 

In the course you will also learn:

- What is the card sorting technique and

- How to set up open and closed card sorting workshops to validate the user experience with the information architecture you have defined;

- Which tools to use to design and develop information architecture and taxonomies.

This course DOES NOT COVER:

- How to write in DITA. (This is covered in other courses of JPDocu School of Technical Writing)

- How to create DITA subject scheme maps. (This is covered in other courses of JPDocu School of Technical Writing)

- Deep details on ontologies.

- Advanced tools, metadata repositories, classification engines, or servers for storing and handling of metadata, taxonomies, or ontologies - this is a getting started course, so such tools and details are not included.

- Ontologies and building them - we consider that a student needs to get a good hold on taxonomies, get practical experience before we can start talking about ontological relations between taxonomies and taxonomy terms.

- Chatbots - although taxonomy is a prerequisite for building decent chatbots, we do not go into details about chatbots in this course.

The instructor of this course, Jordan Stanchev, has over 20 years of experience in the technical communications world.

He is leading the information architecture experts group for the DITA CMS infrastructure at a Fortune 500 company.

Here is what participants say:

"Jordan's excellent course on taxonomies has helped me to consolidate my understanding of what it takes to build intelligent content. I will certainly apply this knowledge to the new documentation project that I'm about to start!"

— Anne Tarnoruder, Senior Technical Writer at Synopsys Inc, API documentation expert, author of the "Standards and Guidelines for API Documentation"

Enroll now and learn how to build taxonomies and design the information architecture of your documentation - take the first step to build your career from a technical writer into an information architect and user experience expert!

P.S. Do not forget that this course comes with a 30-day full refund policy - no questions asked!


UX and Information Architecture Basics for Technical Writers
UX and Information Architecture Basics for Technical Writers
UX and Information Architecture Basics for Technical Writers
UX and Information Architecture Basics for Technical Writers




What is Information Architecture?

Achieve a Common Understanding

Define a Controlled Vocabulary

Aggregate Assets Based on Common Characteristics

Search and Navigation


Terminology and Definitions





Taxonomy Development Strategies

Strategies Overview

Build Taxonomy Using a Standard

Dublin Core Metadata

Strategy 1 - Example

Build a Taxonomy by Description

Strategy 2 - Example

Strategy 2 - Exercise

Build Taxonomy by Comparison

Strategy 3 - Example

Strategy 3 - Exercise

Strategies - Summary

Card Sorting Techniques for Information Architecture

Cards Sorting Techniques for Information Architecture

What is Cards Sorting?

Benefits from the Cards Sorting Technique

Open Cards Sorting

Steps of the Open Cards Sorting

Software Documentation Deliverables

Open Cards Sorting - Example

Open Cards Sorting - Exercise

Closed Cards Sorting

Steps of the Closed Cards Sorting

Closed Cards Sorting - Example

Tools for Designing Taxonomies and Information Architecture

Tools for Designing Taxonomies and Information Architecture

Mind Mapping Tool

Remote Cards Sorting Tool

Remote Workshops Tool

Bonus Section

Slides Used in This Course


Diego6 October 2020

The topics are handled very superficially, the information is common sense. The videos are too short and the jingles at the beginning and at the end are annoying. UPDATE: I finished the course. The above commentary holds for the rest of the videos. I would have liked to see more about individual schemas like DCMI and more hands-on exercises for technical writers (a dictionary? A biography? Really?). However, the conference video at the end is worth alone more than the rest of the course and has very good insights. For that alone, 3 and a half stars.

Laurel16 September 2020

Good explanations and examples of core concepts in Information Architecture. Appropriate for my needs as someone who creates and organizes technical content.

Franc19 January 2020

Stop including the self-promoting slide of your company (with cheesy music) at the start of every topic.


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