A co-design activity for the organization of contents that makes listening a concrete approach with tangible results.
In TSW – The Sixth, we have always taken care of the experience that our customers’ customers live. But what is an experience made of? Of a multitude of interactions which, in a physical or digital context, can generate a more or less pleasant experience.
The concepts of searchability and findability of information and content have a very important weight in this context: are people who come into contact with a brand’s products and services welcomed and guided by clear and easy-to-understand content? Whether it’s a company site, an app, a management system or a physical place, are we making navigation intuitive, stress-free and without excessive cognitive effort? Achieving these results – and therefore designing quality experiences, beautiful to live in their simplicity – is the goal we pursue in our daily activities when we combine SEO skills (according to an approach always oriented towards hospitality that we wrote about here) and user experience in the creation of welcoming environments, capable of taking the user by the hand and accompanying him in navigation on a human scale, because it is designed together with him.
In this article, specifically, we see how the card sorting activity can bring value to the design of an information architecture that responds to the real needs of the people to whom it is dedicated.
Card sorting is a technique that is part of participatory design, which allows us to understand how to catalog and organize the contents of a space and thus create an efficient, simple and understandable information architecture. All this is possible by involving the people who will live that experience in designing that space based on their mind maps.
The first phase of a card sorting is certainly the preparation of the material to be organised.
The contents will each be reported on a specific card precisely because the aim will be to ask the participants to organize them according to the most suitable criterion for that specific person.
At this point it will be necessary to involve the right people. The fundamental aspect that the participants must possess is that they are real (present or future) users of the space we are going to organize. In short, people who respond to the description of potential customers or users of that space.
A UX designer acting as moderator will ask selected people to categorize the items written on the cards; the participants will have to reorder them according to their mental schemes, commenting and describing aloud (think aloud) the reasons for the different choices, so as to allow the moderator to understand the reasoning that underlies his experience.
This type of qualitative research can adapt to different contexts and needs. For this there are several types based on different elements:
These features can be combined with each other depending on the needs, context and execution times.
We basically prefer the face-to-face and moderated version because it has the added value of being able to confront each other in person, also bringing out elements that could be lost remotely.
We vary the other types more often, depending on the needs, for example we have used:
Each card sorting experience conducted for our customers together with their customers is a window wide open on a truth too often ignored: what people really experience in everyday life (with all that follows with respect to the perception of a brand, an immense value ). It is only in this way, by bringing the end users on board the design, in each of its phases, that it is possible to create not only information architectures but entire experiences of value, for the people who will live them and the companies that will know how to design them according to this new (but all altogether as old as the world) paradigm.