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Card sorting for an international organisation

by Martyn Green on October 3, 2012

I’m currently helping a global organisation roll out their intranet, having now reached the stage of card sorting.

Generally speaking, the ideal environment for carrying out a card sort is to conduct them in a group environment. This enables your participants to bounce ideas off each other and get an understanding of how others group content together.

However, it can be difficult bringing staff together for a card sort when they are located around the globe for the following reasons:

  • Differing time zones
  • Different working Patterns

Getting staff together from different locations may be problematic, but card sorts can still be carried out. I find a particularly effective method in this situation is an electronic card sort as employees can take part without leaving their desk.

Electronic card sorts are carried out with usability testing software. In this situation I chose to use optimalworkshop.com but there are equally effective tools available.

This online tool allows a participant to view a list of content items. They can then group content together based on similarity and give the group a category name.

I recommend keeping the number of content to around 50 with an absolute maximum of 100. If there are more than this, participants will become frustrated by the length of time it takes to group items and abandon the card sort.

As there is no facilitator to offer guidance with an online card sort, participants may struggle to place content from business areas they are unfamiliar with. The card sorting software overcomes this issue by allowing users to view the most popular ways content has been grouped by other participants.

You can then collate all information collected from your electronic card sorts to create a logical intranet navigation structure.

What are your experiences with international card sorting? Submit your comments below.

Topics: 3. Function

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