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Card Sorting »

About Card Sorting:

Card sorting refers to a number of techniques concerned with understanding how people classify and categorize things. It has been said that trying to find things on a website is like looking for the scissors in someone else’s kitchen. You know there are some, but finding them can be another matter altogether. How people organize things is a very personal matter.

Card sorting is particularly relevant in website design as the structure of the content is critical. Information architecture is the study of how to design digital structures.. As a method of understanding, card sorting can be used in a number of ways.

At its most basic, card sorting involves writing concepts onto cards and then grouping them in different ways. A group of people work with a facilitator to structure data, concepts, objects or other artefacts, trying to understand what categories are most appropriate to group them together. This results in a taxonomy (a classification) and a set of high-level concepts known as an ontology.

Where the results from a large number of people are available, various mathematical grouping techniques can be used. The affinity diagram that is part of the Contextual Inquiry methods is a similar technique.

This extract has been taken from Designing Interactive Systems.

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