Category DesignMethod

The design of the structures and schemes used to categorize content and resources in order to make the location and use of resources easier for the intended audience.

An organizational structure is how you define the relationships between pieces of content. Successful structures allow users to predict where they will find information on the site. Organization schemes have to do with how you are going to categorize your content and the various ways you'll create relationships between each piece. Most content can be categorized in multiple ways, including those that are "exact" (like alphabetical, or geographic) and those that are "subjective," such as those based on topics or tasks. Depending on the content, it’s conceivable that a site may combine schemes as opposed to treating them independently.


  1. Gather data about your users, content, and business context. Conduct a content audit to determine what content you have, run a card sort to learn how your users think about that content, and talk to business stakeholders to understand your organization's priorities.
  2. Draft a classification scheme that balances a usable distribution of your current (and pending) content, user needs, and business goals.
  3. Label your categories with terms that match user mental models and align with business and brand priorities.
  4. Test your system (tree testing and interactive prototypes are good for this) and revise your category scheme as needed.

Next Steps

Category Design Web Resources

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