International Card Sorting – an overview and some initial questions

Sample Card Sort
Image Attribution: card sorting exercise borrowed from the Card Sorting, A Definitive Guide by Todd Warfel & Donna Maurer

Today we take a little adventure in the land of card sorting.

Anyone who’s been doing IA for long (or even studying it) would have come across the card sort. Its one of the simplest and most frequently applied exercises in organising content into structure. It can be really helpful and help to ensure that you’re taking a user centric approach to the information design of the site.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m working on a project which has number of specific international audiences. I have card sorting on my agenda in the pretty near future. What I’d like to do here is take a look at:

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first? last? as you go? (when do you design the homepage?)

i was reading Derek Powazek’s article on A List Apart this morning in which he talks about the mysteries and wonders of designing a site homepage. Its a well documented struggle, I think. In many cases, its really all your client is worried about. Derek’s clients must be either incredibly well educated in design process, or on copious amounts of valium, if he really does what he says and designs the homepage last.

I wonder if he really does that. I mean, I’ve been known to say that’s what I do, but most of the time what actually happens is that the homepage evolves iteratively as the rest of the site is nutted out in detail. I’d agree that the homepage is probably one of the last pages to be totally finished, but its certainly not, in my experience, the last one to be started.

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