Product Design

Dec. 5, 2018

/ product design

Top 3 tools for card sorting

Luiza Sadowska

Creating a positive user experience should be one of the main concerns while developing an app or a website. Without proper information architecture, the user will soon get lost and leave the page annoyed or disappointed. This is exactly the opposite of the wished benchmark!

Fortunately, UX designers stand up for the better User Experience and with their help navigation on the website is a pleasant process. One of the important parts of UX designers job is testing and creating the website or application structure and architecture. 

Why do you need a good website architecture?

In a nutshell, without proper navigation and website architecture, the probability that it would convert well is pretty low. Of course, there are many elements that influence the conversion rate but bearing in mind the users’ needs and giving the information which is searched, is a step forward. The art and craft of organizing and labelling information on the website or in an app to make it all clear and intuitive, or in other words, how to link and match the user with your content, is the information architecture. 

Creating a positive user experience, making the search process easy, improving the usability of the website and app, proper naming of tags, grouping information and putting them in a clear hierarchy - is a way to go. Why is it important? Basically, without a proper structure, the users won’t be able to find the information they seek for, either it would take too much time. The quality of information architecture is the quality of the service we offer. In case you don’t have a UX designer in the team (or an information architect), there are UX consultation services which can solve this problem and conduct a proper UX audit.  

But what about card sorting?

Card sorting is used in designing and evaluating how the information architecture should be structured, how the topics should be organized into categories and how information should be labelled. The process required actual cards, pieces of paper or online card-sorting software tools. By proceeding with this method, you can better understand the expectations of end users. It also helps you to understand your own content. However, to draw correct conclusions, it is always better to ask an experienced UX designer or work with an agile team to solve your problems. Mistakes on the UX level can have serious consequences for the business. 

Why should you proceed with card sorting

The benefits are quite clear: 

  • figuring out the structure for the website,
  • deciding what to put on the homepage/landing page,
  • categorizing, labelling and navigating in a clear way.

There are two basic types of card sorting: 

  • Open - enables to learn how users classify content on your website by organizing topics from content in groups, within the website. They make it according to the ‘feeling’ what would actually fit, in their perception, to the content description. 
  • Closed - instead of creating own groups like in the open card sorting category, participants link the content to pre-defined categories.

Of course, it is also possible to combine them both - it all depends on your needs! Same goes to the technique you can use: in-person one on one sessions with an observer, group in-person sessions or remote, computer-based ones. Each of the technique has pros and cons but today we are going to describe 3 top tools for remote card sorting which requires participants to work independently and it is possible for them to be in different locations, saves you time and money due to automatic solutions. Participants can open/close card sorts remotely from their computers. This way is particularly helpful when you want to make a UX research on a large group. Additionally, using a software usually gives you the analysis of the data right after you finish the session. On the cons side, we should note down that you can’t see or hear the participants while they are sorting the cards.

TOP 3 tools for online card sorting

1. Optimal Workshop 

User research platform which helps to discover the proper website navigation, information architecture, first-clicks and perform qualitative research. For the card sorting, you should use the OptimalSort tool - and see how other people organize the content on your website. Deal with it in 3 simple steps: inputting cards, configuring study and recruiting participants. Quantitative data and qualitative results at once.

2. Proven by Users 

This one is an exact card sorting tool - nothing more, nothing less! Great if you need to perform just the card sorting with pricing suited to the length of the results collection (30 days, 60 days or 1 year). 

3. Userzoom

Automate UX research tool to test, measure, benchmark and optimize usability, information architecture and proceeding with surveys. Additionally, you get live intercepts. Card sorting with Userzoom helps you understand how users group items, define categories, organize the content and structure the taxonomy of the website's menus.

Regardless of the final choice, there are few practices that should be kept in mind. First of all, too much choice is confusing so limit the number of cards. Also, providing an information with estimation on how long the card sorting session will take is a good strategy to have as many sessions completed as possible. To test out labels and learn more from the card sorting, considering an open sort and a closed sort in one session (dividing in in two parts) might bring better overall results.  

Choosing the right tools is not enough

Depending on your needs and budget you can choose the most suitable tool to perform card sorting on your website. However, having the tools is not enough if there is no one who can correctly analyze the results and create a design and website architecture that replies to actual users’ needs. There are many options but the best way is to ask for a help an experienced UX designer even for remote UX research. Collecting the data is essential to improve and optimize the conversion on your website, however, analyzing it is the key! 

 

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