Taking time at the beginning of a web project to ask questions is important. Nearly everyone in the industry would say that requirements gathering is an essential step in developing a website that meets business requirements; however, a lot of the time we miss an important group of people. Card sorting allows us to take a step back from our biases and ask pertinent questions to the users of the website. This is important because biases take all shapes and sizes. For example, if we had a category with cats, dogs, and birds the business might identify this category as animals; however, when conducting the card sort you may find that your users identify this category as pets.
Card sorting allows us to take a step back from our biases and ask pertinent questions to the users of the website.
Card sorting helps explain what categories of information should be on the website and what those categories should be called. Digital Inflection encourages clients to take the time to petition their audience and figure out what they want and not to rely on what we think they want.
Card Sorting Guidelines
Here are some guidelines that Digital Inflection follow:
We administer a card sort to 5 people at a time in person
For relevant results, 15 participants are required from each primary audience identified
Limit content options to 30-40 choices, especially with open card sorts
For best results, administer an open card sort to gather category titles and then a closed card sort to identify and clarify associations of content
Analyzing the data can be cumbersome, but that’s what we’re here for. We can develop similarity matrices (pictured) and dendograms to aid in analysis.
Having the foundation of your website, like the navigation, user-focused will help you easily achieve your business goals.
Replaced text reeks havoc on users’ short-term memory
Reviewing completed forms (without traditional labels) becomes impossible
With no labels, errors become increasing hard to fix–especially with fields with similar content
Keyboard interactions can become problematic
Fields with content in them are less noticeable
Users can consider placeholders as auto-filled data
Poor implementations can require additional work for users
Even if you use placeholders in conjunction with normal form labels, as I had in the past, you can’t get over the fact that during testing users’ eyes were drawn to empty fields.
“At the minimum, users will spend more time locating a non-empty field–a nusiance. At the worst, they will overlook the field completely–a potential business-killing disaster.”
With usability at the forefront of my mind when developing web forms, adding cognitive load and additional time to users’ tasks is unacceptable. Adding placeholders in order to save room or make my design cleaner at the cost of ruining the user experience is unacceptable.
There’s a new design pattern that has been gaining some traction within the design community that has been lovingly titled Float Labels. In this pattern, the placeholder is both visually and semantically the label for the form. This provides clear context for the user when filling out the form, but produces additional issues.
Small labels may cause trouble for users with visual impairments
Poor implementation may break the semantic label use rendering this approach useless for accessibility
Users may still mistake placeholder data for auto-filled data
Users are still drawn to empty fields
Doesn’t solve the issue of providing additional information for a field as you are now using the placeholder just as a label, not an example or additional instructions
As always, it is necessary to consider each implementation for every project you do. There may be a time where good implementation of the float label design pattern will benefit you more than hurt you. Here are some resources if you’re interested in learning more about this new pattern that attempts to solve this usability issue.
Digital Inflection is 10 years old! Thanks for the birthday wishes, we appreciate it.
Digital Inflection turns ten this month and we wanted to celebrate our birthday by shopping around and buying somethin’ sexy to show you. Fortunately for you, this is just a new design for our website and not some questionable lingerie purchase. In general, our redesign brought us into 2014. You’ll notice flat design, bright colors, and a bit more focus on readability. We took our WordPress expertise and implemented our template into WordPress. We also wanted to put emphasis on
Requesting a Quote
We updated all of our portfolio pages to include images, a brief description, and a link to the site if they are still public. You’ll also notice (we hope!) a green button following you around on our site as your browse. We’ll be looking researching our metrics to see the click-through-rate on this button and more and may be updating our template as time passes. This is our first major redesign in several years as we generally make small, incremental changes. Thanks for the support of all of our clients, we really do appreciate you. We hope you enjoy the redesign and let us know if you have any comments or questions!