As an approach to analysing my observations and findings in both my interviews and Usability testing, I want to use a tagging taxonomy. Here is a breakdown of my understanding of what a tagging taxonomy is, why it’s helpful and how to create one.
What a tagging taxonomy is and why it’s useful
To understand a tagging taxonomy I first had to understand atomic research:
Atomic Research is an approach to managing research knowledge that redefines the atomic unit of a research insight. Instead of reports, slide decks, and dashboards, the new atomic unit of a research insight is a nugget. A nugget is a tagged observation supported by evidence. It’s a single-experience insight about a customer’s experience.
To expand a little further on a nugget:
A nugget is a combination of an observation (something we learned), evidence (video snippet of a user describing the experience in their own words), and tags that allow for slicing and dicing the data. Insights are then synthesized from collections of nuggets stored in a centralized database.
Tagging taxonomies help researchers to develop a solid structure for atomic research. Tagging taxonomies establish how to collect, interpret and act on research.
How to create a tagging taxonomy
It is advised by Dovetail that tagging taxonomies are structured as follows:
- Consist of 5 groups e.g. Procedural, product, demographic, experience and service (tags fall under these groups)
- Create around 25 clearly defined open-ended tags (this allows flexibility and avoids the tagging process becoming too complicated.
The following example is provided on Dovetail
Dovetail also presents 10 lessons they have learnt in the process of creating a tagging taxonomy these fall under planning, organising and ensuring quality:
Planning: Lesson 1 Consider how tags will be consumed
This means considering how others will think to search for and review nuggets. It is suggested that you start with tags directly related to your research questions. Mine are as follows:
- What types of learning do children most enjoy?
- What games do children most enjoy and why?
- In what context do children play games?
- What is an 8 to 10-year-old’s level of ability on core subjects including Maths, English and Science?
- How can I combine learning and game playing?
For my first question, I can create a tag experience vector and with positive and negative values on how children describe different learning experiences.
Planning: Lesson 2 Plan for a learning curve
You should evaluate your tagging taxonomy as you go.
Planning: Lesson 3 Use universal tags
Try to create a tagging taxonomy that can be used across multiple projects, not just the project you are currently on.
Organising: Lesson 4 Just enough tags
Tags are not a stand-alone item. They feed into the evidence section of a project. A tag is an opportunity to highlight a theme or observation that will help to inform the recommended changes to the product. Therefore, too many tags will be overwhelming.
Organising: Lesson 5 Secondary research tags add depth
Make sure tags relating to secondary research are present as secondary research adds to the depth to research. It provides a higher-level understanding of trends related to the domain you are interested in. I believe that this is reflected in research I have carried out on designing for children, however, for the purposes of my tagging taxonomy, I will only be considering my interviews at this time.
Organising: Lesson 6 Tying colour to action
By selecting the right colours, you will be able to visually skim and see if you have successfully tagged the whole nugget.
Organising: Lesson 7 The wheel of emotions
It is also advised that nuggets be tagged with emotions raised by participants during the observation. It is noted that a common practice we chose to draw from is Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions. This allows you to answer questions such as what makes the user angry?
Quality: Lesson 8 Define, and then refine
This lesson simply states that there is no right or wrong way to make a tagging taxonomy and the chances that as a researcher your going to hit on the right outcome the first time round is minimal at best. Therefore be prepared to refine and make changes to the tagging taxonomy as you progress.
Quality: Lesson 9 The golden nugget tag
“A golden nugget is a quote or highlight that stands on its own, well-articulated by the participant, or one which makes a strong case that is hard to dismiss. Golden nuggets suggest major challenges with the brand or a key finding and will be used in the future to represent a point made by multiple other participants.”
Quality: Lesson 10 Less (values) is more
This lesson suggests that if you are on the fence about whether or not to include a tag it’s probably best not to include it. An example of this was whether or not to include a natural tag alongside positive or negative, it was decided by the dovetail team to not include a neutral as a neutral value provided no additional insight it was decided to not include the tag as the absence of a tag would present the same information.