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card sorting for optimal website layout

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User Experience (UX) is a crucial part of any digital project. As the technological landscape becomes more and more complex, and audiences more savvy and demanding, the importance of planning your website’s user experience is more central than ever to your online success. For this blog, we consider the UX tool of card sorting, and explore how it can be used to optimise your website’s layout…

what is card sorting?

So you’ve decided to redesign your website or build a new one. What order should your site content and pages be in? Which structure will lead to the greatest engagement and result in the most conversions? Are all decision-makers in agreement about the importance of different site elements? These are questions can be answered through a card sorting workshop.

Card sorting involves writing all the different website elements on pieces of card, and asking participants/users to organise these cards into logical groups. This can be conducted in person (with paper cards) or online (using a digital card sorting tool). As the users sort the cards, you gain insight into how they assimilate and classify information, thus enabling development of an optimised website information architecture.

why use card sorting?

Card sorting is a relatively inexpensive and simple method to help you structure your website’s layout, work out the most effective menu titles/labels, and decide on content arrangement. Website success is very much dependent on users being able to find information and undertake online transactions simply and easily – and, as part of this, card sorting ensures your website hierarchy and navigation make sense to users.

Content and design elements can be organised in a number of ways and the correct layout varies greatly depending on each organisation’s purpose and goals. Card sorting also allows different information patterns to be tried and tested, thus ensuring that the best navigation structure is selected for the final website build.

additional benefits of card sorting

  • Identifying content gaps: During the card sorting workshop, it’s easy to identify content that might be missing from the user journey, through dialogue with users and stakeholders.
  • Eliminating redundant content: Similarly to the above point, card sorting helps to identify groups of repeated information that can be merged or eliminated.
  • Ensuring stakeholder alignment: Card sorting is great way to make sure that everyone is in agreement before beginning the site design and build, particularly as it’s much easier and less costly to make changes at this early stage of the project.
  • Increasing conversions: Optimising your site structure in a way your customer expects will help them to find what they need more quickly and efficiently, thus increasing user satisfaction and conversion rates.

in conclusion

If performed correctly, card sorting can be an important backbone for a web design project. It sets the foundation in terms of site layout and navigation and ensures this is optimised for user experience, therefore paving the way for the rest of the project.

Want to undertake card sorting for your website design/development? Get in touch for more information.