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How to craft your taxonomy

Last updated28 July 2023
Read time4 min

Table of contents

Taxonomies are iterative and destined to evolve over time. In Dovetail, start seeding your taxonomy as a team or as a solo researcher. This approach will help those building their taxonomy from the bottom-up, top-down, or using a mix of both methods with these key steps.

1. Schedule a workshop

For those creating a new workspace from scratch, get it right from the start and host a session with your stakeholders who will be doing research.

For this session, bring in your core team to get a sense of what tags are important to:

  1. Each stakeholder

  2. Each research method will be conducted in the workspace

💡 Tip

Getting this input early will help ensure processes can be standardized across the board and improve how research is organized in the workspace.

2. Design guiding questions

In this workshop, brainstorm key areas important to your organization and ask guiding questions to prompt discussion on what you and your team wish to track in Dovetail. Align tags to the strategy of your business and decisions being made including:

  • What are your product areas?

  • What are your main research methods?

    • These may be qualitative interviews, usability testing, survey analysis, desk research or more!

  • Who are your customer segments/personas?

  • How do you classify pain points or customer feedback?

  • How will tags be consumed and by who?

    • Consider ongoing how they might act as a guiding concept for viewers in the workspace, particularly in the search experience. Make it easy to guide your team to find your research in Dovetail.

      • eg: “Customer love” tag or “Golden nuggets” tag could be surfaced in Feeds. Each feed can be created and curated to auto-display content as it is produced by those in the workspace, including content under a certain tag. They’re a great starting point for stakeholders to self-serve research findings at a high level without needing to jump into projects.

💡 Tip

For your workshop, do this in Dovetail! Use our community template to crafting your taxonomy and start building tag boards straight away. These boards can be kept as local, project tags or elevated to global, workspace tags for your team to use.

Workshop tags

3. Define and map to Dovetail

When building out your taxonomy and defining your tags, consider:

  • Keeping tags short and sweet; a few words rather than a long sentence.

  • Writing a description of the tag. This section can contain anything you wish to communicate about the tag that will help guide others and make it easy for the team to understand what the tag is referring to and where they may apply it.

  • Exploring our community tag boards for inspiration on common tag boards. You can bring these into your workspace and tailor these to define tags important to your organization.

Once they have been created, determine whether the board and tags within may be most useful at a local project or global workspace level.

  • Research is often conducted in projects and Dovetail takes a project-centric approach to organizing data. Project tags are useful for when teams prefer to maintain tag sets that are highly contextual to the project they’re working on, while avoiding the chaos of making everything ‘global’.

  • Workspace tags enable stakeholders in your organization to contribute to a shared knowledge base and language and help leaders standardize processes across a single workspace.

💡 Tip

To streamline research efforts, connect workspace tags to project templates so they’re automatically available for stakeholders to use when starting a new project.

View templates

4. Revisit and review

Ensure there is someone governing and managing the tags you have in the workspace on a regular cadence. For smaller teams, this could be every 6 months. For larger teams, this could be once a quarter.

When reviewing your tag boards, identify:

  • Tags with a high highlight count

    • These could be too broad in nature so consider getting more granular.

      • eg: a single “Pain point” tag could be updated to a “Pain point” tag group or board with more specific tags that define pain points

  • Tags with low highlight count

    • These could be too granular or be similar to other tags that exist in the workspace. You could consider locating similar or duplicate tags and merging these together.

  • Project tags or tag boards with high usage

    • This may indicate that tags contained within the board resonate across different projects. These could be promoted from project to workspace tags that connect related data and track similar themes together.

Tagging best practices

We have put together quite a bit of content around approaches to tagging. Here are a few we think you’ll find useful. The first two have great summary videos also!

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