A card sorting exercise is the one of the simplest approaches to creating your website’s navigation or information architecture – especially if there is a participant pool at your fingertips. Card sorting is a method to consider if there are a large number of topic areas, if the information is very specific to a user group, or if there are special needs of the user group.
Card sorting exercises follow three basic steps.
- The participant is provided website topic areas are written on index cards.
- The participant determines the major categories for the website.
- The participant categorizes secondary information that is provided into the main categories they established.
An option to consider is that participants can be offered a pre-determined set of cards for secondary information, but participants could create their own major category names. This option allows for a little more flexibility and could reveal terms or language that was not considered by the web design team.
Some things to keep in mind while facilitating a card sort.
- Participants can change the organization at any time.
- As the exercise is carried out, you may want to suggest a limit for the major categories.
- It’s important that the participants align with your primary audience group to ensure they have a strong understanding of the website content.
- Card sorting can be done in person 1 on 1 or there are online options that are free and paid services.
- If performing the exercise in person, encourage the participant to talk as they organize cards so their thought process can be noted.