Thanks to Flickr user David Wormley for the image [CC License]
Terraced rice farming: through sculpting and definition of an organic environment, we make better use of a resource. There's an parallel with interactive content.

29 Mar 2018   Filed in: CAM for Web Systems, ontology

Inside the Content-Action Model

An ontology to document, plan, define and implement CAM magic.

I've previously stated how the Content-Action Model for Web Systems better unites strategy, user actions and content over time — that's a bold claim that's possible through triples of content, users and goals.

This post details the first steps from theory to action.

By placing our content, goals, users into an ontology we can derive logical queries of relationships, placement and success. — me, just now.

Below (in Figure 1) is a WebVOWL visualisation of an early draft (v.002).

The takeaway I intend to show: CAM Records are the parent in the ontology with CAM Goals as the central hub. Pages, content units, and users play a strong supporting role.

Figure 1. The ontology framework for the CAM model.

Want a closer look? Download a copy of the ontology (v.002).

What's the point of doing this? A sample

Below (in Figure 2), I've illustrated a connection in the "Jobs" and "Front page" systems (Records). Here they have a join in through the goal of "Informing and understanding", however we can see the systems use different content to achieve this. Knowing this provide's a chance for sympathetic design between pages and ask if we're doing enough to re-use existing content.

Figure 2. A sample view of inferences between CAM Records.

This is one way that triples allow us to programatically "understand" content and make new observations; in a similar fashion to the above we can query for:

Enabling use across the organisation

A risk of using an ontology information architecture is creating a barrier of "IA speak" that only allows our most experienced content professionals to understand the system — and that's contrary to our aim of websites more responsive to needs of users and organisations.

So our ontology functions as a reference and guide, and not the working implementation.

Collecting knowledge

Instead of an overly formalised front end, we will collect information for this ontology in a conversational and flexible survey-style document and manage it in a human-approachable web application.

Below (in Figure 3), three screenshots: first collecting the knowledge, managing and displaying inferences.

Figure 3. Prototypes from left to right: loosely structured documents to collect information, user-accesible editing forms, processed and cross-referenced displays of information. The ontology will function below the surface and only be visible to users indirectly.

Use of a web application also allows us a path to future goals; including:

Interested in the ontology, CAM, or the application layer? 👉 Get in touch: 🐦 @khawkins98 or ✉️ [email protected]

Building the CAM, what's next?

The Content-Action Model for Web Systems is an emerging methodology that I'm blogging about throughout 2018.

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I'm Ken Hawkins

I do web platform and content architecture. Learn more about me on the front page, or:

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