August 2nd, 2006
An astute virtual seminar attendee asks:
“We are reorganizing the content on our site (Customers continually tell us they can’t find things, the context is overwhelming, etc.). I was hoping to use tagging to get an idea of how our customers look for things and then base the structure accordingly. Is this appropriate?”
Yes, this is definitely appropriate. Any insight into how customers look for things is valuable. If you can gain knowledge about how people value your content from the way they create and use tags, then you have a virtual obligation to do so!
As I mentioned in the seminar, tags are simply trigger words. As trigger words, they are triggers to action. When a person sees a trigger word, they act. If you can fill your web site with people’s trigger words, you’ll make them happy because they’ll find the content they were looking for.
In general, we’ve found several ways to discover people’s trigger words:
- Search Engine Queries
By cataloguing the queries people enter into search engines, you can get a clear idea of the actual words people are looking for. We see it over and over again: when people can’t find their trigger words on a page, they go to search. What do they enter into the search box? Their trigger words!
- Actual Clicks
By looking at the actual clicks that people make, you can get a good idea of what words trigger them to action. The words might be the words in the actual link, or words nearby.
Tags are a new way to uncover trigger words. Since users are the ones entering tags, we have access to their own vocabulary. This is much more valuable than just a way for users to save things for later (which is the primary reason why people tag). Information architects can gain valuable insights into what language can inform future versions of the web site.
If you haven’t noticed, we’re excited by tags. One of the reasons why is that they are a source for ever-valuable trigger words.Tweet