card sorting

I guess I’m looking for some debate here, but how effective is card sorting in helping you to develop an IA.

Personally, I don’t find it that useful. Not as much as all the books and guidance would have you believe. Why? Because: 

  • we rely on using small groups, which are not representative enough.
  • an open card sort does not address any of the issues associated with seeking behaviours such as ‘I don’t know what I’m looking for?’
  • if using this method for an Intranet, staff that took part expect their suggestions used and can affect their expectation when they’re not.

I think that Donna Maurer’s card-based validation technique is far more useful and works well.


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