Card sorting is a usability research technique used to organize and categorize information in a way that is easily understandable and accessible to users of a website. This technique is mainly used during the information design process and is based on the belief that the best design is one that is intuitive and easy to use.
In card sorting, participants are presented with different cards representing different content elements. They are asked to organize these cards into groups based on their own categories and then give names to each group. Participants can also tag each card with keywords that describe the content. The information collected is then used to develop a clear and logical information structure for the website.
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How card sorting is done
In Card Sorting we can distinguish 3 phases:
Phase 1: Preparation
- Identify the content items that you want to evaluate.
- Create cards with each piece of content so that participants can manipulate them.
- Prepare clear and concise questions to ask participants during the card sorting process.
- Select a representative sample of users to participate in the activity.
Phase 2: Realization
- Start by explaining to participants the nature of card sorting and the instructions for the activity.
- Participants should organize the cards into groups based on their own categories and label them appropriately.
- Ask questions to get additional information about why participants have categorized cards in a certain way.
Phase 3: Analysis
- Once the data has been collected, present it in a format that is easy for the design team to understand.
- Analyze common patterns in categories created by participants.
- Use the collected data to design a clear and logical information structure for the website.
Benefits of Card Sorting
Among the advantages of using this technique we can mention the following:
- It helps to understand the user’s mindset: By letting participants organize information in their own way, you gain a deeper understanding of how they think and how they relate to the information on the website. This can help identify patterns in the way users think about information, which can be useful for designing a more intuitive information structure.
- Tag identification: Participants can also tag cards with keywords that describe the content. This process allows tags that may not have been previously considered to be identified, which can be useful for improving SEO and website navigation.
- Improves usability: Card sorting can help improve the organization and structure of website information. By creating a more consistent and logical information structure, users can more easily find the information they are looking for, which improves usability and user satisfaction.
- Reducing user effort: By designing a website with the right information structure, you can reduce the effort users need to find the information they need. This in turn can increase user retention and loyalty.
- Reduced development cost: By reducing the number of design iterations needed to improve the information structure of the website, the total cost of site development can be reduced.