With our seasoned experience and the mixed methods we can also validate non-digital information architectures such as signage in airports, hospitals, shopping centres and also shops and large offices.
In particular, there are two methods for the most efficient definition of content development and architecture: the card sorting test and the information architecture test.
The process begins with card sorting, a tool that tells us how people see content grouped within an information environment and what the relationship is between the content elements.
This method is well suited to the organisation of digital environments because it tells us:
Using the card sorting method, these aspects are investigated with the people that would be accessing the site, so that they can directly express their “ideal” model of content organisation.
Each person is asked to order the cards – they can be paper or digital – bearing the name of a section or element of content of the site. Their task is to sort them in groups they consider to be related.
This methodology can generally be extended to other areas, such as a special section of the site whose content is difficult to organise, an information-rich intranet, a long list of items to be slotted into appropriate drop-down menus or an e-commerce site with products that are difficult to categorise.
In the case of website design, a no less important goal is to design a content structure that is also effective in terms of visibility in search engines.
Information architecture tests
This test (remote at first and then live for verification) is used to assess the quality of the new information architecture and to ensure the availability and explorability of content.
Here is how the test is performed. The people (selected on the basis of positioning objects agreed with the partners) interact directly from their device, performing the tasks defined by our team.
The tasks are designed to assess the quality of navigation and categorisation of content: the person navigates a content structure to find specific information, without the aid of any graphic representation.
At the end of the activity we will have a report that allows us to optimise the effectiveness of the classification criteria, the information structure, the labelling used to identify the menu items and content, the relations between the content and the ordering priority of the information.