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Card sorting tools

DonnaM has posted a short summary of seven computer-based card sorting tools. She took a closer look at the two most promising. Her conclusion is:
- IBM's USort was as annoying
- CardZort is nice


  • The post Card sorting tools - final summary

Henrik Olsen - October 24, 2004

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Card Sorting: How Many Users to Test

With the card sorting method we can enhance usability by creating an information architecture that reflects how users organise content. But how many users should we include in a card sorting exercise?

According to Jakob Nielsen, 15 participants will be enough to reach a comfortable result in most projects. Testing 30 people is better but not worth the money. Going beyond 30 users will hardly improve the results. In projects with limited resources for user research, the remaining users are better spent on qualitative usability tests of different design iterations.

His recommendation is based on results from a study measuring the trade-off curve for testing various numbers of users in card sorting.


  • The article Card Sorting: How Many Users to Test

Henrik Olsen - July 25, 2004

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Card sorting: the definitive guide

Card sorting is a user-centred method for finding patterns in how people categorize information. It can be used to generate structures for information and suggestions for navigation and wording. Here is the "definitive guide" by Donna Maurer and Todd Warfel.


  • The article Card sorting: a definitive guide

Henrik Olsen - April 28, 2004

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User research techniques in comic book form

Dan Willis has created a condensed overview of some of the core techniques used in information architecture. The descriptions are in a comic book form and serve as entertaining reminders of some of our development options. Willis one-pagers cover sitepath diagramming, topic mapping, free listing, card sorting, and personas.


  • IA Classics: Tools of the Trade in Comic Book Form

Henrik Olsen - April 28, 2003 - via Usability Views

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See also: Site and flow diagramming (3)  Posters (5)  Personas (13)  The design process (14)  Usability testing (29) 



Card sorting and cluster analysis for web site organisation

In an article from 1999, Shirley Martin describes a method for user card-sorting to involve users in the organizational design of web sites, and how to use cluster analysis to make sense of multiple participants’ inputs, by comparing the strength of the perceived relationships between pairs of cards.


  • The article Cluster Analysis for Web Site Organization

Henrik Olsen - April 21, 2003

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Information Architecture: Blueprints for the Web

In the introduction, Christina Wodtke claims that her book on IA isn't for people doing IA for a living – "most of it will probably be old hat." It might be true, that her book won't make a revolution for the IA field, but it is very enlightening to read about Wodtke's practical use of the techniques and principles of IA. And there's no armchair theory here. Everything is backed up by cases, examples, and practical advice on how to make everything work in the real world.

The book concentrates on traditional IA practices, such as:
- User research
- Organising content
- Card sorting
- Personas, scenarios and task analysis
- Site and flow diagramming
- Wireframing and storyboarding

At the end of the book, you'll also find some she-devil tricks on how to persuade you boss and co-workers to do things your way. Highly revealing - my girlfriend is never going to fool me again.


  • The book at
  • The book at

Henrik Olsen - November 14, 2002

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See also: Books (32)  Wireframing and prototyping (29)  Site and flow diagramming (3)  Requirement Analysis (12)  Usability testing (29)  Personas (13)  The design process (14) 



IBM tools to develop user-centered information and site structure

For your site to be successful, you will need to organize information in a way that makes sense to your users. People develop expectations for how to find different types of information and how to accomplish particular tasks. They may expect to search alphabetically (as when using a phone book), according to groups of similar items (as in a grocery store), or in a sequence of steps to fulfilling certain tasks. IBM has developed the tools that can make your user-centered information design easier to manage.


  • Develop user-centered information structures using statistical cluster analysis tools
  • Develop a user-centered structure for your site

Pieter-Jan Pruuost - October 16, 2002

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Usability Toolkit

InfoDesign has a section with a lot of free usability toolkit materials including descriptions of usability techniques and downloadable tools such as guidelines, check lists, examples and software.


  • The toolkit at

Henrik Olsen - April 09, 2002

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See also: Tools (49)  Expert reviews (6)  Requirement Analysis (12)  Personas (13)  Usability testing (29)  Wireframing and prototyping (29) 

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