I was in a customer presentation the other day and was asked about the importance of a taxonomy to the successful implementation of a SharePoint ECM solution. Why do you need a taxonomy and what value does it bring to the project? Taxonomy provides the structure to the SharePoint ECM solution that enables the users to easily find the information that they need to make a business decision. There are two basic components to a good taxonomy, a well defined and intuitive folder structure and a set of content types and associated attributes. I usually break the taxonomy into these two components to best address two distinctly different audiences; the “experts” and the “novices”. The “experts” are the group that uses the system on a daily basis and thus will use the advance features to find information. The “novices” are the group that may only use the system once a month or once a year to find that one critical item they need to make a decision.
For the “novices”, an intuitive navigation of the folder structure is key to finding information quickly. This type of navigation best mirrors the Windows Explorer folder structure and thus the same type of visual navigation that a one would use in locating a document stored on their My Documents Folder. By providing the “novice” with a visual navigation capability, the system will be viewed as easy to use and will not require constant retraining every time the “novice” wants to find a document.
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