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UX Tip #51 User experience design process

The best way to create an IA that resonates with your target audience is to involve your users in the design process. A card-sorting activity can really help you understand users' mental models, and provide valuable insights to inform the creation of an effective Information Architecture.

To run a card sort you need to prepare 20-30 cards with one content item or topic written on each card. Then, organise one-on-one or group sessions with participants from your target audience. During the sessions ask participants to organise the cards into groups, adding a descriptive label to each group.

Once they finish the activity, ask them to walk you through how they organised the cards and why they did it this way. You don’t need to use the groupings or labels they suggested, but you need to understand their rationale for making those groups. This will form the basis for an IA that resonates with your users.