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Card Sorting

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Card sorting is a user-centered design method for increasing a system's usability/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/participants.

 

1.
#29270

Affinity Diagrams

Whether you're brainstorming ideas, trying to solve a problem or analyzing a situation, when you are dealing with lots of information from a variety of sources, you can end up spending a huge amount of time trying to assimilate all the little bits and pieces. Rather than letting the disjointed information get the better of you, you can use an affinity diagram to help you organize it.

Mind Tools. Articles>Information Design>Charts and Graphs>Card Sorting

2.
#21396

Analyzing Card Sort Results with a Spreadsheet Template  (link broken)

This article explains how to quickly derive easily-read, quantitative results from a card-sort activity by entering data into a spreadsheet template that is adaptable to any set of cards and categories.

Lamantia, Joe. Boxes and Arrows (2003). Articles>Usability>Methods>Card Sorting

3.
#27603

Beyond Story Cards: Agile Requirements Collaboration

Discusses the life cycle of Story Cards, what they should be, how to use them and what to watch out for.

Shore, James. JamesShore.com (2006). Articles>Documentation>Agile>Card Sorting

4.
#20676

The CAA: A Wicked Good Design Technique

Discusses Category Agreement Analysis, a card-sorting technique to help create usable information architectures.

Spool, Jared M. User Interface Engineering (2003). Articles>Information Design>Content Strategy>Card Sorting

5.
#36494

Card Games for Information Architects

This article reviews 6 simple but powerful research techniques you can use to improve the information architecture of your product or web site. None of these activities requires a computer. You simply need a bunch of cards, a participant and a desk.

Travis, David. UserFocus (2010). Articles>Usability>Methods>Card Sorting

6.
#33137

Card Sorting

This is a method for discovering the latent structure in an unsorted list of statements or ideas. The investigator writes each statement on a small index card and requests six or more informants to sort these cards into groups or clusters, working on their own. The results of the individual sorts are then combined and if necessary analysed statistically.

UsabilityNet (2006). Articles>Usability>Methods>Card Sorting

7.
#33138

Card Sorting

This is a simple technique that enables one person or a group of people to create a categorisation of objects so that it is understood which objects belong with which other objects. Objects can be anything: menu items, blocks of content, proposed web pages, URLs. This method can be used by practically anybody after a few minutes practice.

European MultiMedia Usability Services (1999). Articles>Information Design>User Centered Design>Card Sorting

8.
#33139

Card Sorting

Card Sorting is a technique for exploring how people group items, so that you can develop structures that maximize the probability of users being able to find items.

Gaffney, Gerry. Information and Design (2006). Articles>Information Design>User Centered Design>Card Sorting

9.
#38478

Card Sorting

Card sorting is a way to involve users in grouping information for a Web site. Participants in a card sorting session are asked to organize the content from your Web site in a way that makes sense to them. Participants review items from your Web site and then group these items into categories. Participants may even help you label these groups. Card sorting helps you build the structure for your Web site, decide what to put on the home page, and label the home page categories. It also helps to ensure that you organize information on your site in a way that is logical to your users.

Usability.gov. Articles>Usability>Information Design>Card Sorting

10.
#33049

Card Sorting for Intranet Information Architecture

A relatively large navigation list (about 50 content areas) of ‘un-substructured’ finance related material. The intranet in question uses single menu pages for each of 8 main information groups and the above list was part of the wider finance information group. Some work had already be done on other subsections (i.e purchasing). But the rest of the content, which included policies, procedures and other reference material, was all in the same sub-section. The list was structured by alphabetical order only.

Besseling, Nick. Contextia (2006). Articles>Web Design>Intranets>Card Sorting

11.
#24755

Card Sorting Tools: Final Summary

A summary of how IBM's USort/EzCalc and CardZort worked for results entry and analysis.

Maurer, Donna. DonnaM (2004). Articles>Usability>Methods>Card Sorting

12.
#33140

Card Sorting, Part 1

Card sorting is a user testing method for organising data into structure. There’s a lot of information about on what they are, how to conduct them. Problem is, they’re all over the place and mostly they’re written by scientists so tend to be a little difficult to grasp and bogged down in analysis (which can take over your life if you let it!) I’ve decided to document my understanding of how to plan, conduct and analyse a card sort, from a practitioners point of view.

Boulton, Mark. Mark Boulton (2007). Articles>Information Design>User Centered Design>Card Sorting

13.
#33141

Card Sorting, Part 2: Facilitation

You should now have everything ready to conduct your card sorts - cards, users, observers and most importantly a clear objective of what you want to achieve.

Boulton, Mark. Mark Boulton (2007). Articles>Information Design>User Centered Design>Card Sorting

14.
#33142

Card Sorting, Part 3: Analysis and Reporting  (link broken)

In the final part of the article I talk about perhaps the most important part of the procedure - Analysis. This is the part in which you can get the most bogged down. You must be thorough, ruthless and accurate. Card sorting won’t always give you the answer - it may just give you more questions. This is where the analysis comes in.

Boulton, Mark. Mark Boulton (2007). Articles>Information Design>User Centered Design>Card Sorting

15.
#22482

Card Sorting: A Definitive Guide

Card sorting is a simple user-centered technique for obtaining insight into the structure of a site. But is it really so simple? This definitive guide to card sorting includes detailed instructions on how to execute and analyze a sort, plus helpful hints to improve your sorts. It is the first in a series of articles about card sorting.

Maurer, Donna and Todd Warfel. Boxes and Arrows (2004). Articles>Usability>Methods>Card Sorting

16.
#38477

Card Sorting: A Definitive Guide

While card sorting is described in a few texts and a number of sites, most descriptions are brief. There is not a definitive article that describes the technique and its variants and explains the issues to watch out for. Given the number of questions posted to discussion groups, and discussions we have had at conferences, we thought it was time to get all of the issues in one place. This article provides a detailed description of the basic technique, with some focus on using the technique for more complex sites.

Spencer, Donna and Todd Warfel. Boxes and Arrows (2004). Articles>Information Design>Methods>Card Sorting

17.
#28271

Card Sorting: An Inexpensive and Practical Usability Technique  (link broken)   (PDF)

Card sorting is often inexpensive, quick, and easy. Learn when to use this method and how to perform a card sort of your own within your company.

Kaufman, Joshua. Intercom (2006). Articles>Usability>Methods>Card Sorting

18.
#36749

Review: Card Sorting: Designing Usable Categories

Donna Spencer's new book, Card Sorting: Designing Usable Categories (2009, Rosenfeld Media) may be a breeze-through read, but don't be fooled by the direct, plain-language style into thinking that you can skim it and walk away a card-sorting expert. The book is meant to be read, used, then read again as a follow-along guide.

Bailie, Rahel Anne. Usability Interface (2009). Articles>Reviews>Usability>Card Sorting

19.
#24468

Card Sorting: How Many Users to Test

Testing ever-more users in card sorting has diminishing returns, but you should still use three times more participants than you would in traditional usability tests.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2004). Articles>Usability>Methods>Card Sorting

20.
#29928

Card Sorting: Mistakes Made and Lessons Learned

Card sorting is a simple and effective method with which most of us are familiar. There are already some excellent resources on how to run a card sort and why you should do card sorting. This article, on the other hand, is a frank discussion of the lessons I've learned from running numerous card sorts over the years. By sharing these lessons learned along the way, I hope to enable others to dodge similar potholes when they venture down the card sorting path.

Ng, Sam. UXmatters (2007). Articles>Usability>Methods>Card Sorting

21.
#35105

Card Sorting: Pushing Users Beyond Terminology Matches

It's easy to bias study participants, whether in user testing or in card sorting, if they focus on matching stimulus words instead of working on the underlying problem.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2009). Articles>User Centered Design>Methods>Card Sorting

22.
#21279

Card-Based Classification Evaluation

We hear and talk a lot about card sorting in various forms, and how it can be used as input on a hierarchy or classification system (or a taxonomy, if you like more technical words). We hear that we should test our hierarchies, but we don’t talk about how.

Maurer, Donna. Boxes and Arrows (2003). Articles>Usability>Methods>Card Sorting

23.
#32805

Card-Sorting: What You Need to Know About Analyzing and Interpreting Card Sorting Results

This article provides general guidelines for card sorting analysis and interpretation. Tips include how to deal with dual group membership, individual differences, effects of semantic clustering, and items in a miscellaneous group.

Hinkle, Veronica. Usability News (2008). Articles>Usability>Methods>Card Sorting

24.
#32587

Extending Card-Sorting Techniques to Inform the Design of Web Site Hierarchies

Card sorting offers a systematic and statistically significant process for answering questions about hierarchy design. However, those of us who have run card sorts know there is an art to conducting successful card sort studies, and there are many variables that can affect the usefulness of results. In this column, I’ll discuss the challenges and limitations of card sorting and review alternative and complementary techniques that designers can leverage when developing an information hierarchy for a large-scale Web site.

Hawley, Michael. UXmatters (2008). Articles>Web Design>Usability>Card Sorting

25.
#10630

An EZSort  (link broken)

The EZSort tool helps interface designers organize information based on users' expectations using statistical cluster analysis. This tool includes two packages -- USort and EZCalc. The USort program can be used by card sort participants to sort virtual cards with a simple GUI interface, instead of using physical cards. It can also be used by study administrators to generate card list and enter existing card sort result from individual participants. Once individual card sort results are captured by the USort package, test administrators can use the EZCalc package to manage card sort data from multiple participants, and perform cluster analyses. EZCalc generates tree diagrams that allow direct adjustment of the cluster thresholds. The packages can be used in designing Web sites, program interfaces, and many other information design applications.

IBM (1999). Resources>Software>User Centered Design>Card Sorting

 
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