Cards sorts can make many forms. They can be low tech with index cards or Post-it notes. Or they can be a higher fidelity done on a website or with other card sorting software on the computer.
If you have access to users in person, you can use a physical card sort. With this, you can use index cards or Post-it notes to have the user organize the items written on the card in to more general categories. If you do not have the opportunity to to meet the user in person, it’s ok to use a remote card sorting service or software (second image above) to do a card sort.
The major things that a card sort is used to accomplish is:
It is cheap and easy to do. Yes it takes a bit of time to create one card for each topic and make sure that all assets are covered. But once that is done, all you need to do is hand the cards to the user and have them organize them. Take a picture of the results with your phone or a digital camera and save for analysis.
It is user centric. It truly is from the viewpoint of the user since the user is the one organizing the cards in the best way they see fit.
It can be done in person or remotely. As shown in the images above, card sorting can be performed in a variety of ways.
It is a valuable and reputable source for gathering information. Car sorting and taxonomy have been used in a variety of ways for years. And if done correctly, it really works!
It can also help create labels and navigation titles. If you leave the card sorting open (without providing categories for the user to organize the cards) you can have the user not only group like items, but give them intuitive titles as well.
It provides insight in to the user’s thoughts. If you are able to talk with the user as they organize the cards, you get great insight as to WHY they are organizing the cards in certain ways. This helps you get sone context as the why and how the user is grouping like items.
Don’t be afraid to perform your own cart sorting exercise to help organization for your website or app. Feel free to leave comments and share your experience with your own card sort.
Today, I attended my third WIAD or World Information Architecture Day, established by IAI Information Architect Institute. A couple of years ago, I acted as Project Manager for Los Angeles’ WIAD. So ai map to see that the torch has been carried and this event is back in the Los Angeles community. It’s a great opportunity to hear some of the industry’s well regarded IA experts, to meet other great people in the field, and hopefully to get fired up and inspired. What is WIAD? According to the website:
World Information Architecture Day 2016 is a one-day annual celebration of this phenomenon. Hosted in dozens of locations across the world by local organizers on February 20th, we focus on telling stories of information being architected by everyone from teachers to business owners; technologists to artists; designers to product managers.
With representation from all over the world, we believe that the power of similarity and the beauty of difference between stories will inspire those who work in information architecture, as well as those who may be new to it. We aim to teach, share, and have fun — all through the lens of Information Architecture (IA).
I would like to share some of my notes and highlights from today’s fabulous event.
If you’ve ever wondered where you are on a website, than that is an issue of IA.
An aspect of “play studio” is to pick a behavior and design for it.
Shift from a designer to a facilitator.
Research is becoming more collaborative.
Design work is not precious. So it’s good to work on low fidelity objects to keep that true.
Design work is not about ornamentation, it is about implmentation.
Think about creative solutions rather than what requirements are supposed to be delivered.
Designers need to be more collaborative and not worry about people (who are not designers) stepping on their toes and entering their “craft.”
Put the work out early to get user feedback, knowing it is an iterative process.
Try creating ad hoc personas when you don’ have time to create full-fledged personas.
Know your audience. This is so often forgotten. Keep in mind what your user’s current needs and behaviors are. Don’t lose site of who you are designing for.
Know when it is appropriate to work with an established design pattern and not reinvent the wheel.
Take the information you have gathered in research and shake things up when you need something different.
Some corporations appreciate hiring people who will rock the boat and provide a diverse outlook to the company. Get hired to make a change in the corporate structure as well as the product that you will build.
Some companies will avoid innovation because of risk. This leads to fast following.
Tell the story | Develop the culture | Be the voice of the customer.
Innovation requires atriculation.
When you work on a design solution, what will people think, feel, do and become?
UX designers have great skills like: inter-discipline, like people, empathy and listen to others.
Think like a founder, not a designer.
Designers inherit problems, founders define them.
Design THE business, not for it.
Do you expect the world to anticipate your needs? Because you should.
The problem you have been given is not the right problem. Discover the right problem.
Every designer should have some skill in leadership.
What motivates a designer is a frustration with the world and a desire to improve it.
As a designer, you see something better.
Consider delivery mechanisms that extend your core experience.
Leverage what people love, address what they don’t.
Complexity is not the problem
Simplicity does not solve ambiguity
The wonderful Strategic Projects team of UXPALA (User Experience Professionals Association of Los Angeles) spent a good part of Sunday afternoon working on the “not quite ready for primetime” uxpala.org website. Though it is still in it’s very early stages, the team came together to get a lot of work accomplished. We have to pull information form the already existing meetup website, plus create new content that must also be included on our formal website. All if this while working with the Information Architecture and structure of the site. Though there is yet a lot of work to be done, we made some great headway.
The day after WIAD (World Information Architecture Day) I participated in another day-long User Experience event. This time, I was not a passive observer who had organized the event. I was a hands-on, jump-all-in User Experience designer.
We were assigned the timely topic of Healthcare, so we chose to redesign the Covered California website. We did not feel that there was a clear call to action, so we wanted to simplify the interaction of the website a bit.
We were very tight on time, so we banged through a lot of brainstorming sessions, mind mapping and creative flow to narrow down the scope of the project. Just before the deadline, the team created a few valuable assets for our 3-minute presentation. Some are shown below:
UX Hackathon was an exciting experience and I learned a lot about working in teams, working under very tight deadlines, lean UX and creating deliverables in less than a day.
Jennifer Blatz explores the world of UX through words and imagery