Dow Corning

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 that they needed to discover new products or purchase existing ones. Because they offered such a wide range of products in different industries which could be applied in a number of different ways, it was recommended that they develop a faceted classification system in order to serve up critical information needed 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 key stakeholders to understand the business, interviews with 51 customers in 15 different countries to understand their needs as well as to validate the faceted system once it was developed. We surveyed existing content to gather facets as well as vocabulary terms. We also gleaned facets and vocabulary terms from extensive customer interviews when we asked about their information use when making decisions about chemical products. We then developed 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.