Community Strategy Insights

The latest insights on community strategy, technology, and value by FeverBee’s founder, Richard Millington

The Taxonomy Challenge

Richard Millington
Richard Millington

Founder of FeverBee

If you want to have some fun, study the taxonomy of top communities (well, perhaps not fun, but it’s worth doing).

The taxonomy of a community gets far less attention than it should – but it has a huge impact on the community.

Far too many communities have a terrible structure that hurts the experience for members.

You have several options. You can structure your community by:

  • User type (customer, developer, partner, reseller).
  • Product categories (product 1, 2, 3).
  • Sector (retail, B2B etc..)
  • Visiting intent (collaborate, share, get help).

…or a combination of the above?

Most communities try to do a combination of the above.

The Coveo Community, for example, has three features categories with the option to view all topics (thanks Erik!)

conveo connect community

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The Filemaker community goes with Create, Share, Integrate, Report, and Events up to two further levels of subtopics within each:

filemaker community

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The HP community, like many in the B2C sector, go with specific product categories:

HP Community

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The Dropbox community goes with visitor intent as the prime navigation method:

dropbox navigation

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Get survey data to determine what members prefer best (or test different approaches). Do they prefer to browse by intent, user type, product type, or some other issue? This is a simple survey question to ask.

A few things to be aware of here.

1) If you’re using Salesforce, be aware it’s a terrible platform for superordinate topic structures. For example, the ‘Many to Many’ topic on Filemaker is under Create > Relationships by navigation, but discussions for Many to Many won’t show up under Relationships or Create unless specifically tagged with those names. Trust me, this is a real pain.

2) Unless topics can be suggested from the content of discussions, know that most members will simply select the default (or easier) one. If there’s a ‘general’ option, they will use it.

3) Most members are too lazy to tag a question with more than one topic unless it’s automatically suggested as an option for them. Apple (below) is a good example of making it easy to tag multiple topics instead of trying to think of the right answer.

Apple Question

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