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Help your customers find what they need – a UX Card Sorting Primer ft. the UX Kits Website Deck

Help your customers find what they need – a UX Card Sorting Primer ft. the UX Kits Website Deck

Navigating Design Challenges: How Card Sorting Illuminates User Experience

In today’s digital world, simplicity in design underpins the user experience. However, achieving this simplicity is often a complex process, particularly when it involves understanding how different users interact with various interfaces. This brings us to the technique of card sorting, a method from my UX days that proves invaluable across various design challenges.

Imagine trying to locate oatmeal in a Polish convenience store after moving from South Africa. The frustration of not finding what you need isn’t just a minor inconvenience—it’s a daily reminder of how crucial intuitive design is. This experience highlighted a fundamental UX problem: design isn’t always aligned with diverse user behaviors.

Card sorting helps tackle this by engaging directly with users to understand how they categorize information. This technique isn’t just about improving website navigation—it’s about making any user interface intuitive and user-centric. I use the UX Kits Website Deck, a practical tool that enables designers to visualize how content should be grouped from the user’s perspective.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Open Card Sorting: Begin without predefined categories. Provide users with labeled cards (representing website content or other elements) and let them organize these into groups that make sense to them. This stage is exploratory, aimed at uncovering the user’s natural grouping and labeling tendencies.
  2. Closed Card Sorting: Once you’ve identified common groupings from the open sort, test these categories with new users to refine and validate the labels and groupings.

Throughout the process, it’s crucial to create a comfortable environment for participants, ensuring they understand there are no right or wrong answers. This openness fosters genuine user-driven insights.

Applying these insights, you can develop a navigational taxonomy that feels natural to the user, significantly enhancing the findability of elements like that elusive oatmeal. It’s about seeing the interface through the users’ eyes, a shift from designer-led to user-informed structures.

The UX Kits Website Deck offers a tangible way to apply these principles. It includes 64 cards representing various website elements, allowing for hands-on, collaborative arrangement. This tool isn’t just for websites; it’s a versatile ally in tackling broader design challenges.

As we evolve in a digital-first world, understanding and implementing user-centered design practices like card sorting is not just beneficial—it’s essential. It bridges the gap between diverse user expectations and the digital environments we create. This approach doesn’t just solve design problems—it enhances user interaction, ensuring that every digital space feels like it’s tailored just for them.

Whether you’re a seasoned designer or just starting, integrating user feedback into your design process is invaluable. So next time you’re faced with a design challenge, consider reaching for that card deck—it’s your gateway to unlocking a design that truly resonates with your users.

Helping your customers find things where they expect them, to create a seamless experience, is not that hard. I dusted off an old but trusty UX technique called card sorting to demonstrate how easy it is. I’m also showing off the “UX Kits Website Deck” to show you how you can use the same approach differently. Check out one of my favourite UX techniques that have remained relevant in our Tin-foil hat world.