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WHAT IS IT? Card sorting
is a user-centered design method for increasing a system’s findability. The process involves sorting a series of cards, each labeled with a piece of content or functionality, into groups that make sense to users or participants.
WHY USE IT? It’s a
quick, inexpensive, and reliable method, which serves as input into your information design process. Card sorting generates an overall structure for your information, as well as suggestions for navigation, menus, and possible taxonomies.
WHY IS IT USEFUL? You
learn... ✓ how different people think about, organize, and expect to access your content ✓ a bit about the language/terminology used by a particular group
Sorry, you had to be
there! This was a workshop conducted at the Ministry 2.0 conference in Austin, TX. If this seems useful or interesting to you, I am available for workshops, training and consulting. <wink, wink> More at www.poetpainter.com
quot;I don't recommend designing an
information architecture based purely on a card sort's numeric similarity scores. .. Much of the value from card sorting comes from listening to the users' comments as they sort the cards: knowing why people place certain cards together gives deeper insight into their mental models than the pure fact that they sorted cards into the same pile.quot; -JAKOB NIELSON http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20040719.html
Preparing for a typical card
sorting exercise requires the following: 1. Selecting content • current content areas • planned/future areas • free listing with participants 2. Selecting participants 3. Preparing the cards
TIPS: •run this session with
actual site •make sure objects being sorted visitors!!! (no proxies!!) aren't themselves classifications-- make them sortable! •do use internally, to get different •don't expect the same results-- groups aligned on issues of labeling/ structure discrepancies are good •run with individuals and with groups •look for more info in the conversations than in the results •how someone would sort •be clear on your intentions-- something, and which areas they would actually use (or use more validating (closed sort) or learning often) are different! (open sort) •be clear about your labeling, use a •don't equate final card sort as your variety of labels an descriptions. site structure -- look at this as (mobile vs clamshell vs flipphone) - input. translation still required. unless you are testing labels, as well