What Is Card Sorting Computer Science Essay

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Card Sorting is a technique for exploring how people group items, so that you can develop structures that maximize the probability of users being able to find items.

Card Sorting:

Is easy and cheap to conduct

Enables you to understand how 'real people'

are likely to group items

Identifies items that are likely to be difficult to categorize and find

Identifies terminology that is likely to be misunderstood.

When is a Card Sorting appropriate?

Card Sorting is appropriate when you have identified items that you need to categorize.

Card Sorting is particularly useful for defining web site structures.

Types of Card Sorting:-

Open Card Sorting: Participants are given cards showing site content with no pre-established groupings. They are asked to sort cards into groups that they feel are appropriate and then describe each group. Open card sorting is useful as input to information structures in new or existing sites and products.

Closed Card Sorting: Participants are given cards showing site content with an established initial set of primary groups. Participants are asked to place cards into these pre-established primary groups. Closed card sorting is useful when adding new content to an existing structure, or for gaining additional feedback after an open card sort.

How is Card Sorting conducted?

Card Sorting can be conducted in a variety of circumstances using various means - one-on-one, during workshops, by mail, or electronically. The following is the basic process.

Names of items to be categorized are printed on individual cards. Cards should be large enough to accommodate the names in a font that participants can read easily when spread out on a desk or table-at least 14 point.

Participants are asked to group items in a way that makes sense to them.

Participants may also be asked to name the resulting groups.

Once all participants have completed the exercise, enter the data in a spread sheet, and examine the groupings. There will be general agreement about many items, and these groupings will be fairly apparent. For example, all participants may group 'Technical Support' with 'Complaints' and 'Product Assistance'.

Who should participate?

Make sure that all participants are representative of the eventual users of the structure you are designing.

Preparing for a Card Sort

Ensure that each term is as clear and unambiguous as possible

Ensure that you have included all the items you need to categorize

Shuffle or randomize cards prior to each participant session

Script a set of instructions so that all participants have the same understanding of the process

Leave participants alone while they are sorting the cards to avoid placing them under unnecessary time pressure, but make sure

they can contact you easily to ask questions or when they have finished

Provide additional blank cards for people to write group names

Provide rubber bands so that people can gather groups of cards together

Types of Design:-

Conceptual Design- The possible ways in which the design can address the needs of the problem space, i.e. Personas, Scenarios, Use cases, etc.

Conceptual design involves:-

Structuring the information space

Creating of alternative solutions

Determining which design concept to pursue

Physical Design-The possible ways that the conceptual design can be realized in the real world. i.e. Low-fidelity prototypes, Wireframes, Functional prototypes, etc.

Participatory Design

In Participatory design, user in active member of the design team, they indirectly advise and suggest the design of the system.

Following are the Characteristics of Participatory Design:-

context and work oriented rather than system oriented



Following are the Methods to make participatory design:-




pencil and paper exercises


Prototypes are experimental and incomplete designs which are cheaply and fast developed. Prototyping is an integral part of user-centred design and the usability engineering lifecycle because it enables designers to try out their ideas with users and to gather feedback.

Why Prototyping

The main purpose of prototyping is to involve the users in testing design ideas and get their feedback in the early stage of development, thus to reduce the time and cost. It provides an efficient and effective way to refine and optimise interfaces through discussion, exploration, testing and iterative revision. Early evaluation can be based on faster and cheaper prototypes before the start of a full-scale implementation. The prototypes can be changed many times until a better understanding of the user interface design has been achieved with the joint efforts of both the designers and the users.

The aim of prototyping is to resolve uncertainty about

functional and user requirements

operation sequences

user support needs

required representations

"Look and Feel" of the interface

appropriateness of the design

Types of Prototyping

Low Fidelity Prototyping

Low-fidelity prototypes are quickly constructed to depict concepts, design alternatives, and screen layouts, rather than to model the user interaction with a system. Low-fidelity prototypes provide limited or no functionality. They are intended to demonstrate the general look and the feel of the interface, but not the detail how the application operates.

Sketches and paper prototypes

Sketching techniques, a kind of visual brainstorming, can be useful for exploring all kinds of design ideas. After producing initial sketches the best ideas can be further developed by constructing cardboard representations of the design, which can be evaluated with users. This can then be followed by developing scenarios, software or video prototypes


Storyboards originate from the film industry, where a series of panels roughly depicts snapshots from an intended film sequence in order to get the idea about the eventual scene.

Storyboarding is a graphical depiction of the outward appearance of the intended system without accompanying system functionality. It provides snapshots of the interface at particular points in the interaction so that the users can determine quickly if the design is heading in the right direction.

High Fidelity Prototyping

High-fidelity prototypes are fully interactive, simulating much of the functionality in the final product. Users can operate on the prototype, or even perform some real tasks with it.

Computer-based simulation

Higher fidelity prototypes simulate or animate some but not all features of the intended system. There are three approaches to limit prototype functionality.

Vertical prototyping

Vertical prototyping cuts down on the number of features, so that the result is a narrow system that includes in-depth functionality, buy only for a few selected features.Vertical prototypes allow users to perform and test some real tasks.

Horizontal prototyping

Horizontal prototyping reduces the level of functionality so that the result is a surface layer that includes the entire user interface to a full-featured system without underlying functionality. Horizontal prototypes allow users to feel the entire interface, even though they cannot perform any real tasks. The main advantages of horizontal prototypes are that they can be implemented fast with the use of prototyping and screen design tools, and they can be used to assess the interface as a whole.


Scenario reduces both the number of features and the level of functionality. It can simulate the user interface as long as the user follows a previously planned path, i.e., a user can use a specific set of computer facilities to achieve a specific outcome under specified circumstances. Scenarios can be easy and cheap to build, and to be used during early evaluation of a user interface design to get user feedback without the expense of constructing a running prototype. It can also be used for user testing if they are developed with slightly more detail than a pure narrative.

Wizard of Oz

This is a method of testing a system that does not exist. It allows designers to test ideas without implementation a system.

The Wizard of Oz technique works as follows: the user interacts with a screen, but instead of a piece of software responding to the user's requests, a developer (the wizard) is sitting at another screen (generally in another room) simulating the system's intelligence and interacting with the user. The wizard may simulate all or part of the system function. When setting up a Wizard of Oz simulation, experience with previously implemented systems is helpful in order to place realistic bounds on the wizard's "abilities"

Rapid Prototyping

In rapid prototyping interactive prototypes are developed which can be quickly replaced or changed in line with design feedback. This feedback may be derived from colleagues or users as they work with the prototype to accomplish set tasks.

Various techniques may be used for rapid development

• Dynamic high-level language development

• Database programming

Visual programming is an inherent part of most prototype development systems

Example of Prototyping:-

Live example of a Furniture world shop:-

Home Page:-

Second-level page

Another second-level page

Final Page after Prototyping