Have you ever visited a website found it really hard to find information? Perhaps it even felt like the site was organized without putting much thought.

Surprisingly, we are all different! 😝 Which means we all interpret and associate words in different ways. It’s important when designing your site’s information architecture and navigation to be aware of this. A word that might make sense to you might be confusing to another. So what can we do about it?

Enter card sorting! Card sorting is a research technique for discovering how people understand and categorize information. You can use card sorting results to group and label your website information in a way that makes the most sense to your audience.

To demonstrate this technique I picked the BC Park’s Foundation website. Now I have no idea what their website goals are for the website or any background information on how they organized their site. So for all terms and purposes, their site is serving them well.

Original navigation

Looking through their site, I felt that it could be improved so I decided to run a small card sort experiment. 

Card sorting allows people to group cards into categories. Depending on the type of sorting they might need to come up with the categories themselves. In this case, I left it open so they would need to create their own categories.

Example of user going through card sorting exercise

Although it was a simple website, the data seem to indicate we could simplify the site. The information architecture I came up with based on this data was the following:

Proposed information architecture

I think the biggest question mark is the Give button. This change should be tested to ensure it doesn’t reduce conversions. So what would the new navigation bar look like?

Redesigned navigation