Thank you to everyone who filled out the survey about their card sorting experiences. There were 139 responses, which is amazing.
I have summarised the results here. I won’t provide the full unedited results from the survey as many of them were quite specific (and also because I said up front that I wouldn’t do this). But if you are interested in anything below, please email me.
I asked about the number of sorts you had conducted in the last 2 years. The average was 4 (median 2), although some of the high numbers told me that maybe I hadn’t been clear that I was interested in the number of activities you had run, not the number of participants (or some people card sort a lot).
Most people conduct only manual card sorts (60%) and some conduct only software-based sorts (10%). Many people commented that they conduct the sort manually and analyse it with a tool, an option I hadn’t thought about to include in the survey.
Most popular tools were:
- USort/EZCalc (the no-longer-supported program from IBM)
- Joe Lamantia’s analysis spreadsheet
The most rewarding aspects of the activity are (this is my interpretation of detailed answers):
- Face-to-face time with real users
- Observing the group activity – learning as much from the discussions as the data
- Learning unexpected things from users
- Seeing different ways of grouping information
- It is so easy to run
- Being somewhat transparent about the IA design process
The most challenging thing, by far, is analysing the data from the activity. Many responses gave me the impression tthat the other big challenge is designing the information architecture – not directly related to card sorting alone, but raised as a particular problem. Key communication challenges include selling the activity, communicating the results to others and showing how the results informed the design. Some people also mentioned that choosing the content to include is difficult, particularly for large sites.
These are all aspects that will be the focus of the book, so I hope to be able to provide a lot of guidance and tips for these particular challenges.
I also asked if I could talk to you for user research, or for case studies, and many people offerred one or both. Because the response was higher than expected and very detailed, I probably won’t follow up everyone who offerred to be involved in general user research. But I will follow up some individual comments and offers of case studies – within the next few weeks.
Thanks again if you contributed!
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