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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.



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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Global Online Card Sort for World Usability Day 2006

World Usability Day has come and gone for 2006, and the results of the global online card sort are in. About five hundred people in 19 or 20 countries participated in the exercise. Find out what's next.

Bailie, Rahel Anne. Usability Interface (2007). Articles>Usability>Methods>Card Sorting


How to Organize a Portfolio

You have collected the pieces you would like to include in your portfolio. You have sorted through your collection and selected your best work. You have made entry cards for each piece to provide a good introduction for each sample. And you are ready to place your work, introduction page, entry cards, section dividers, and give-aways into your new leather portfolio. Where do you start?

Burnett, Rebecca E. Thomson. Careers>Portfolios>Information Design>Card Sorting


Information Design Using Card Sorting

At the beginning of any information design exercise, it is normal to be confronted by a very long list of potential subjects to include. The challenge is to organise this information in a way that is useful and meaningful for the users of the system. A card sorting session can go a long way towards resolving this problem.

Robertson, James. Step Two (2001). Articles>Usability>Methods>Card Sorting


Innovations in Card Sorting

Creating a product that has a logical information structure is critical to the success of the product. A good structure helps users find information and accomplish their tasks with ease. Card sorting is one method that can help us understand how users think the information and navigation should be within a product.

Dick, David J. Usability Interface (2007). Articles>User Centered Design>Methods>Card Sorting



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