You can now gather data on card order in OptimalSort

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Today, I am very pleased to announce that you can finally use OptimalSort for prioritization activities. This is particularly useful for closed card sorts when you want to know which items are important to people, and which ones are not. I know a lot of researchers have been looking forward to this feature (I certainly have). Perhaps we can find a little irony here — an oft-requested prioritization feature that we’ve somehow prioritized many other things above.

 Any card sort that was launched after the 14th of August 2015 will now provide you with in-group card position analysis. Specifically, when you're looking at an individual card sort, you'll see the actual order that the cards were placed, and for summarized data you'll see the average position for each individual card in the group.

It's not just about information architecture anymore. This one will be useful for market researchers, product managers, and user researchers alike. Here's two ideas  you can try now with OptimalSort:

Feature and task prioritization

You have a list of features. You have a list of users. But which features do those users want the most? Ask your users to rank features in order of descending importance in three groups (and get your hands dirty with confidence):

  • I'd use this
  • I wouldn't use this
  • Unsure

Brand value investigation

Give staff or customers a list of brand values and ask them to place them in three groups in order of importance:

  • We are
  • We're not
  • We should be

How to gather prioritization data in a card sort

The key to authentic data is making this intention explicit in your welcome message, instructions, or even the category label itself. We're often not sitting next to our online participants, listening to what they're saying about why they're moving which cards where. The prioritization data will only be useful if participants are aware that's what you want from them.

For example, we recently ran a hybrid card sort to find out the Top Six Verbs that drive innovation. To make sure participants knew that we wanted them to order the cards, we wrote this in the category label: "Place your TOP SIX innovation verbs here (in order of importance):

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How to view the prioritization data in your results

Your OptimalSort results are still the same, only now with a couple of additions. If you're not concerned with the order of cards within groups you can safely ignore the new columns.

The categories table

In your Categories results, you'll now see the average relative position participants placed the card within that group, and the frequency with which the card appeared in that group:

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The cards table

In your Card results, you'll now see the average relative position participants placed the card into each category, and the frequency with which the card appeared in each category:

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The Participant Centric Analysis (PCA)

The PCA table — which shows the three participant card sorts with the highest number of similar card sorts — will now display cards in the actual order the participant sorted them.

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Let us know what you think

We're thrilled, and of course we hope that you are too. You can start exploring this new data by revisiting the results of any card sort you launched after 14 August. But even better — create a new card sort with this purpose in mind. And then pen us a note to let us know what you think.

Published on Oct 20, 2015
Andrew Mayfield

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