Reading Usable Help
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Gordon R. Meyer
Card Sorting on Mac OS X
The use of card sorting as a tool for designing a usable information architecture is well-practiced in the field of web design, but not quite as common in help system studies. That's a shame, because the time spent up-front in a low-tech study can really pay off in the long run.
Interestingly, the low-tech approach (that is, using 3 x 5 index cards, from which the name derives) isn't even necessary. Instead, Mac OS X Users can use the reasonably-priced xSort application. Not only does it give the "feel" of traditional card sorting, it greatly simplifies the analysis of the results. xSort includes a nice variety of reports and graphs, and even tracks (limited) demographics of your study participants. With a utility like this, the list of reasons for not doing a card sorting study just got a lot shorter.