Card-Sorting Exercise: Instructions: Part 1
[instructions] [link names] [results]
To be conducted between June 16 and July 7, 1999.
Materials needed for each volunteer:
- set of 106 cards with link names
- some extra blank cards
- rubber bands
- post-it notes
To prepare, shuffle the deck so the cards are in
a random order. Meet with the volunteer at a large table with plenty of room to spread
the cards out.
Read to the volunteer:
This test is designed to help us gain some understanding of how our web
site users would name the categories of information on our site. This set of
cards represents some names of current content from our site as well as
some possible future content that we haven't developed yet.
Take these cards and put them into piles representing categories of
information that make sense to you. You may make as many or as few
categories as you like.
When they are sorted, put a post-it note on top of each pile and write
a name for that category on it. The name can be as long and descriptive
as you like, we just want to get a sense of why you consider those links
to be a group - the name doesn't have to be perfect.
The whole test should take about 1/2 hour. I have some other work or
reading I can do while you're sorting, so I won't be looking over your
shoulder, but feel free to ask me questions at any time.
This is part one of the test. Part two will be a different kind of
card-sorting test and will
be conducted between July 7 and 21. Will you be available to schedule a test
during that time?
Here are some questions they may have:
1. What if I have no idea what a link name represents?
Feel free to set aside cards that have no meaning for you
and leave them out of the exercise.
2. May I put cards in more than one category?
Yes. Make an extra card by copying the name on one of
the blank cards and put one card in each category. Make a note
on the cards that says "also in [category x]."
3. I have some ideas for related or new content I'd like to see
on your site. May I include those somehow?
Yes, just use the blank cards to make up new links
of your own choosing and add them to the piles.
4. What if some of the links don't seem to fit into any category?
Feel free to make a category called "other" or
"general" or whatever.
5. Are you really going to allow off-campus access to databases?
(or a similar question from a link name for something we don't have yet)
Some of these items are from ideas that people gave
us for what they would like to see on our site. We haven't made
final decisions yet about all the content we will include, but
we would love to get your input about which features are most
important to you.
When they are done, put a rubber band around each labeled pile and then a rubber
band around the whole set. Record the name, email address, department, and status
of each user (undergrad, grad, faculty, etc.) and keep with the card set. Bring your
sets to the web advisory group meeting on July 7.
Thank the volunteer for participating and give them the Toscanini ice cream
[web advisory group]