Library School Was Helpful: Card Sorting
Card Sorting is a very specific method employed when you need to come up with a structure or architecture for a web site. You write out all of the pertinent bits on cards and then have stakeholders or users sort them into groupings that make sense to them. It can be high tech, using card sorting programs, or it can be a stack of index cards, a pen, and a big surface free of obstacles. I prefer the manual method and I’ve been known to use the floor. This is a splendid method and is quite useful on its own.
However, I’m a very visual person who has difficulty seeing large swarms of information parts in any real context if they are written down, even in outline form. I also tend to brainstorm and think of unrelated or at-odds ideas all at once and often find it hard to record my thoughts.So I’ve started using card sorting for organizing myself when I’m feeling lost. Sky and I did a card sort for our zine, which was akin to the specific method mentioned above: we wanted to know what information should go on what page, with what other information. We stapled our finished organization scheme to a piece of board since we didn’t have a cork board.
I’ve written most of my slides for my presentation next week, but I’m having a hard time figuring out the best flow for my 20 minutes of talking. So I sat down on the floor and made up some cards. I had to start over a few times and finally lock the cats out of the craft room, because cards are fun if you have paws.
You can use card sorting in lots of different ways – I’m thinking of using it for planning a dinner party menu in July. I figured it would be a good way for me to figure out “duplicate” ingredients and not buy too much or too little. I’ll update on how that goes.
On that note, I’m planning on launching a more professional/library based blog soon. I have a domain that I use primarily as a resume site, but I’m finding that lately I feel like writing about the things I’m learning as a librarian working with social media. So a blog it’s going to be. I’ll post once it’s up and running!