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Improving the way the information in your site or application is organized and presented is one of the most cost-effective ways of increasing user satisfaction and engagement. Information architecture can help you find out how your users think about the world, and transition those lessons to your product. In this course, Chris Nodder teaches you how to perform card sort research to get information about user interactions, analyze the results, and create a validated information architecture plan. Then translate your plan into refined menus, content classification, and page layouts. Finally, test the success of your new structure with reverse card sorting and by monitoring feedback from server logs, site searches, and help desk calls.
You'll need to find people who are representative users of your site or product. If you're creating the information architecture for your company's intranet or an internal tool, then you must find people from the organization who would be likely users. If you're creating a public facing website, you need to find people who would be your site's customers or visitors. I covered the steps you'll need to cover to recruit people in a lot of detail in my course on usability testing. I suggest you watch the relevant chapters of that course before you start your recruiting effort.
At a minimum you'll need to find sufficient people. Check that they meet your criteria. Schedule times to meet with them, either at your place of work or at their location, and convince them to turn up by paying them a suitable gratuity for their time. 15 participants should give you enough data to have sufficient confidence in the results. Obviously, if you have different types of users, you'll want to have this number of participants for each user type. Because you'll need to see whether they think of the structure the same way or not.
For instance, a hardware store website might have two distinct audiences. People who are going to do some do-it-yourself home decorating could be very different from professional contractors. One beauty of paper based card sorting is that it doesn't take much setup. So, you can travel to your participants' locations rather than bringing them in to your offices to run the sort if you'd like. Just be sure that you have a large table to run the sort on, in a location without any disturbances. Also, make sure you run the sort indoors.
There's nothing like a gust of wind to ruin a card sort activity.
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