Website structure and information architecture can be a headache, but research with typical members of you audience allows you to trust the outcomes. Card sorting involves users arranging the content of your website into the groups that they would expect to find when browsing your website. We then analyse this along with other research to build the structure or sections of your website.
While performing the card sorting activity, we also eye track the users with our state of the art eye tracking glasses. This allows for an even greater understanding into the users’ thought processes, as they arrange the cards you are able to see what they are looking and gain more of an insight into their decision process and organisation of the categories.
Card sorting can either be ‘Open’, where users group the cards and name the sections accordingly, or ‘Closed’, where users are given the category names for which to group their cards under. Open card sorting allows you to see common patterns that emerge from the users’ arrangements, while closed card sorting helps to reveal whether the selected category names and taxonomy are effective headings for the content.
Once the user has completed the exercise, we talk though their decisions with them and they explain why they chose to arrange the cards in the particular way they did.
We can also conduct remote card sorting. This large scale, online option is perfect for getting a greater amount of data, but should ideally be done in conjunction with the in-person testing as not to lose out on the qualitative user feedback from the lab based sessions.
Card sorting is a great way, along with being quick and low tech, to see how users expect to experience your website – what they expect to find under particular sections. Card sorting is a great starting point for considering the information architecture and layout of you website.
When should I do it?
Card sorting should be conducted early on in the design or redesign process to ensure that that the Information Architecture is supported by the user expectations.