Developing a Faceted Classification

The problem:

Dow Corning, a large chemical company with over 3,000 products, found that its web site users were unable to find critical product information. Because the company offered wide ranging products for different industry applications, it was recommended that they develop a faceted classification system in order to serve up critical information needed for customers to make purchase decisions. Seneb was brought on board to define and develop the faceted system along with any controlled vocabularies that would be needed.

The project:

The 7 month project consisted of

  • Interviews with 51 customers in 15 different countries to understand and then validate customer needs. 
  • Content audits to survey existing content and gather facets and vocabulary terms.
  • Organizing vocabulary from existing content and customer interviews when we asked about their information use when making decisions about chemical products.
  • Developing a faceted classification with 16 facets, each with a corresponding controlled vocabulary (CV). Whenever possible, we used existing lists and vocabularies as the basis for our CVs and we relied extensively on expert subject knowledge within the company when refining the list of facets as well as the vocabularies.

The outcome:

You can now view their web site, including their Product Finder, which relies on the faceted system for navigation in many areas. The complete list of facets, their corresponding vocabularies, all research summaries and wireframes of the completed faceted classification system were delivered on time and within the projected budget.