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How to tag content and organise topics on GOV.WALES.

First published:
27 February 2020
Last updated:

What the taxonomy is for

The taxonomy:

  • helps users and machines explore topics on GOV.WALES
  • consolidates and structures content on GOV.WALES
  • only categorises content that already exists
  • is displayed through topic pages and indexes (for example publications)

Helping users and machines explore topics on GOV.WALES

The taxonomy is designed to help users and machines understand and explore the subject areas covered by GOV.WALES. It also helps to describe the meaning of the content.

Consolidating and structuring content on GOV.WALES

The taxonomy is the primary way to categorise GOV.WALES content by topic. This makes content on GOV.WALES easier to manage and find.

The taxonomy only categorises what’s already on, or what is soon to be published on GOV.WALES

The taxonomy only describes the GOV.WALES domain. This is all content on GOV.WALES. For example, only transport topics that already exist and that cover GOV.WALES content can be found in the transport area of the taxonomy. If there’s no content about self-driving cars on GOV.WALES, ‘self-driving cars’ will not be a topic in the taxonomy.

This helps to make the taxonomy easier to manage and makes it a truer reflection on what’s on GOV.WALES.

How the taxonomy is displayed

Topic pages are the main way users interact with the taxonomy. Users can navigate to topic pages via breadcrumbs on content pages.

Users can also use topics to filter indexes of content. For example filtering a long list of publications by topic.

The design and structure of the taxonomy

The taxonomy is topic-based

The taxonomy categorises content by topic. Topics are subject areas.

They are not:

  • government departments or agencies
  • content formats
  • services or tasks
  • user groups or professions

Topics describe what the content is about, they’re not intended to describe who has published the content, or who the content is for.

The taxonomy is hierarchical

The taxonomy is made up of topics and their subcategories which are named sub-topics. Sub-topics can contain further sub-topics of their own. This hierarchical tree structure makes the taxonomy easy to browse. The strength of hierarchical relationships between topics can be tested through tree tests (on Wikipedia). If a user can easily find a topic by starting at the top of the taxonomy ‘tree’, then the hierarchical relationships are strong.

We refer to topics and sub-topics collectively as topics. When it’s important to describe the hierarchy we use both topics and sub-topics.

A topic or sub-topic should have between 2 and 12 sub-topics (or none)

Showing users (or publishers) too many topics or sub-topics at any level of the taxonomy can be overwhelming. The maximum number of topics or sub-topics at any level should ideally be around 12.

Topics or sub-topics with only one sub-topic can create unnecessary granularity. The minimum number of sub-topics a topic or sub-topic can have is 2, or none if it is the lowest level sub-topic.

Naming topics

It’s important that topic and sub-topic names can be distinguished from each other so that users (publishers or end users) know which to pick.

We should avoid ambiguity between similar categories in separate parts of the taxonomy. One way is to use qualifiers, for example orange (fruit) and orange (colour). The GOV.WALES style guide should be used when naming topics.

Principles for naming topics

Topics must:

  • be subject areas (not tasks, audience types, names of departments, government initiatives, or content types)
  • accurately describe the content tagged to it
  • make sense on their own without context
  • be clarified if there is more than one topic with the same name - add qualifying text in brackets, for example, pipes (musical instruments) and pipes (smoking implements)
  • be written in plain English, avoiding jargon, overly technical terms, punctuation, symbols and numbers where possible
  • reflect user language where possible, refer to search terms in Google Analytics or Google Trends
  • not use acronyms, unless the acronym is more well known than the non-abbreviated term, for example MOTs
  • be in sentence case unless it’s an official name
  • not be phrases or sentences

The taxonomy is always evolving and publishers are encouraged to provide feedback

The taxonomy is flexible. Topics can be:

  • added (if a new subject area emerges)
  • removed, if they become redundant
  • renamed
  • merged
  • split into sub-topics

Publishers can suggest new topics, or changes to existing topics. Use the naming principles as a guide when making suggestions.

Tagging to the topic taxonomy

Content should usually be displayed on the sub-topic page. If you do not want content to show in a sub-topic discuss this with the Corporate Digital Team. You should still select a sub-topic so that the content is easier to find, for example when using search filters. 

Tag content based on what’s it’s about. This helps users understand the meaning of the content on GOV.WALES and using the topic taxonomy makes sure this is done consistently.

Tag your content to as many sub-topics as are relevant, for example, Improving air quality on roads is part of Air pollution and Current road improvement projects.

Consider the whole taxonomy when tagging content, not just topics you would usually associate with your organisation. Users should not need to understand the structure of government to interact with government.

Review sub-topic pages to check that they contain expected content (and if they are not, tag missing content).

Sub-topics with too many or too few content items should be reviewed to see if sub-topics should be split or merged.

Request a new or amended topic

If you think that you need a new topic for your content, contact the Corporate Digital Team.

You'll need to let us know:

  • why you think GOV.WALES needs a new topic
  • examples of content to tag to the new topic
  • where the new topic will sit in the topic structure

If you want to make changes to a topic, for example moving or renaming it, contact us.

You will need to let us know why you want to make the change and how it will improve the user experience.

Changing the order of content in sub-topics

Order content in topics so that:

  • more important things are earlier
  • related things are together

To order content:

  1. Select Manage.
  2. Select Structure.
  3. Select Order sub-topic node listing.
  4. Select the sub-topic that you would like to re-order.
  5. Use the 4 way arrow next to the title of the content you want to move to drag it to a new position. If you do not see the 4 way arrow, select Hide row weights option.

Adding a popular link

These links should highlight:

  • pages meeting the most common user needs
  • important pages that will benefit from greater prominence

Highlighted pages must be listed in a sub-topic of the topic they are added to.

Popular links are not added to sub-topics which contain no sub-topics. In this case highlight content by changing the order.

If you would like to add or change a popular link, contact the Corporate Digital Team.