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Card Sorting: What is it, and how can it Benefit your Study?

 By Userlytics
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With Userlytics’ Card Sorting capability, you can ensure the information architecture of your digital asset is clear, intuitive, and leads your customers to where they’re trying to go. With a more direct website layout, you can increase your conversions, retain customers, and boost business.

What is Card Sorting?

Card Sorting is a popular tool for exploring the “Mental Model” of your study participants as they search for information, products or solutions on your digital asset. The information you gain from your Card Sorting activity metrics will allow you to optimize the Information Architecture (IA) of your websites, mobile apps, desktop applications and prototypes.

Three benefits to incorporating Card Sorting into your user experience study are:

  • Ensures you have a coherent information architecture that matches the mental models and expectations of your users and customers.
  • Optimizes the accessibility and ease of discovery of your menus and navigation paths.
  • Explores whether the names of categories and products are understandable and match your user and customer expectations.

How Do I Create a Card Sorting Activity in my User Experience Study?

To create a Card Sorting activity within your user experience study, go to your Userlytics dashboard and either click an existing study to add the activity, or select the “Create New Study” optionTo create a Tree Testing task within your user experience test, go to your Userlytics dashboard. Click on “Create New Test” if you are building out a new test.

Once you have entered the study builder, click “Card Sorting” on the left-hand side of the screen where the study activities and questions appear.

After selecting “Card Sorting” from the activity choices, click on the activity from within the various activities and questions on your UX study to begin building it out.

When building out your Card Sorting activity, first, you will have to customize the text your participants will see.

Then, you will have to design the sort type for the Categories your participants will be selecting from. You have the option of choosing from the following three options: “Open,” “Closed,” or “Hybrid.”

  • Open: Participants create and name their own categories.
  • Closed: You predetermine the categories participants will choose from.
  • Hybrid: Predetermine some categories, and participants can also create their own.

If you choose the “Open” Card Sorting method, you will designate the Card names, and allow participants to create their own Category Names. If you select either the Closed or Hybrid sort options, you will designate names to both the Cards and the Categories.

How Do I Interpret Metrics from my Card Sorting Activity?

After your participants have completed your user experience study, you can go into your dashboard and view and interpret the results of their Card Sorting activity. First, find the “Metrics” option on your Userlytics dashboard under the study you are trying to analyze.

Then, click on the Card Sorting activity within your study to view detailed metrics from your participants’ results. Here, you will be able to see detailed reports that give you suggestions on how you should arrange and organize your digital asset based on your participant results. Our system uses an advanced algorithm to determine the most logical information architecture for your website, app or prototype.

Under your metrics, there will be three sections: Cards, Categories and Recommendations.

Your participants’ card sorting results will be available in the “metrics” portion of your Userlytics dashboard. Under your metrics, there will be three sections: Cards, Categories and Recommendations.

  1. Card Metrics: Clicking “Cards” on the left-hand side will give you information on how your participants sorted each of your task Cards. You can click the left and right arrows to sort through each of your Cards and see what categories your participants placed them in.
  1. Categories Metrics: The middle section, “Categories,” gives you information about any Categories your participants created, the percentage of Cards your participants listed under each Category, and more. There are two ways to view this section. The first is “View as Cards,” which will let you know what Cards were placed in each Category by the majority of participants, and which Cards were placed in each Category at least once.

Clicking on any of these metrics will expand them and give you greater detail on the percentage of participants that placed specific Cards in each Category.

The second way to view metrics for the “Categories” section is “View as Table.” In this viewing mode, a table will appear showing the number of test participants that placed each Card within the given Categories. Any boxes that appear in red signify that all participants placed that Card within the same Category. The colors within the table appear lighter as fewer participants place those Cards within a specific Category. This table gives you a visual representation of how your test participants interpreted your digital asset’s informational structure.

  1. Recommendations Metrics: The third metrics section on the right-hand side, “Recommendations,” gives you recommendations on Categories and Cards you should consider removing or revising. Our algorithm will create Warnings for specific Cards and Categories that may need to be removed or renamed in order to promote clarity and consistency within your brand asset. The elements that appear in the Warnings sections were placed by your participants in your test, but with minimal data to support them. These recommendations allow you to eliminate confusing or irrelevant aspects of your website, and to strengthen your website’s organization.
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