Designing your navigation with card sorting

When you are planning your intranet you will want your users to find information quickly and easily.  How do you group your information so it can be located easily?

One method that can be carried out as part of your requirements gathering workshop is card sorting. This is a cheap and easy technique that helps to identify common patterns when grouping information together.

When you conduct a card sorting exercise, you are trying to find the pattern your users go through to find information. This is also known as their “mental map”. Understanding user “mental maps” will help you to structure information on your intranet in a logical way for your users.

Participants in a card sort will usually be your potential intranet users. There is no definitive way of performing a card sort; it can be conducted on a one to one basis or in groups. The exercise consists of participants being given a number of prewritten cards. They are then given the task of grouping the cards together in a way that makes sense to them. The task is then catalogued by taking a picture.

Card sorting helps you to find the most common way that users logically group information together. Understanding how to group information means you can create an intranet structure which enables users to locate what they need quickly and easily.

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