Here’s one for you, and here’s one for me.

Card sorting. If there is such a thing as a reverse card sort, then what does a forward card sort do?

I am reminded of an episode of “I Love Lucy”. Ricky is in the bedroom and yells out to Lucy in the living room, “Honey I can’t find my socks, do you know where they are?” Her answer was, “they are under the bed in the blue box”. It turns out that in an effort to help Ricky, Lucy started organizing everything by color. If you are in a paint store looking at samples, then possibly that could work for most people. If you are in a bedroom looking for socks, then maybe less possibly.

Card sorting is about learning how people group, sort and link…things, tasks and ideas together…in all sorts of different priorities by all sorts of people with different ways of doing things. And on a good did it is just that simple. On a day when they are rushed or less invested in what they are doing, well, let’s just say that the different ways of thinking that all of us have…could become more different.

I have tested with individuals that almost appear to click first and then read the label. Individuals where the first label which looks like it might contain the information is clicked on rather  than the label that seems to be more related than any of the other labels.

So maybe individual and cultural, impulsive and analytical traits come into play with how we try to find what we are looking for. Maybe organizing the navigation for the Smithsonian web site would be done differently rather then say, how Google has done their navigation or lack thereof depending on the holiday. My suspicion is that Google already knows that. Possibly that could explain why a web site for the upcoming movie “Transformers 3” would draw different individuals than the Microsoft web site and how those individuals would expect to find information would be organized differently to match their expectations.

All in all, at the end of the day, trends emerge and the world is saved from chaos. I just wish it could be saved from bad navigation. If I was in the running for a beauty pageant my answer would be world peace through card sorted navigation.

Card sorting is one method that is inexpensive, simple to administer and reliable to base decisions on. It’s kind of like a road map on how to herd cats.


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