Like an Oreo and a Thin Mint had a baby

On Friday afternoon I ran another card sort with members of the CSUMB Design Studio. I brought Candy Cane JoeJoe's to fuel us through Friday afternoon, which one student blissfully described as "like an Oreo and a Thin Mint had a baby."And, voila, I had a title for this blog post.

Their information scheme was a blend of broad categories such as Office & services, Academics, and Important buildings and other smaller, more specific categories such as Technology, Housing on campus, Get help with class, and Graduation. Within the larger categories, they did group the cards into sub-categories. For example, under Academics, they placed CMS, register for class, and add/drop a class together.

They also created an Everything category, which included Login to MyCSUMB, "Because that is everything." Everything also seemed to serve as a catchall for cards like the Printable Resource Guide.

The designers proved their creativity by incorporating markers into the card sort to indicate a relationship between several categories when I didn't have a ball of yarn and box of pushpins ready to go.

This group also made two very good suggestions for cards that should be added: OtterMedia, to go along with Otter Realm, and Find faculty office hours easily, which echoed feedback I'd heard several times during UX Office Hours.

Even with the JoeJoe's, the students hit card sort fatigue about half an hour in. The amount of information is overwhelming, which gives me concerns about the experience users will have when they're trying to use the landing page.

I'm wondering if there are other ways to limit the number of links users see? By using the information we know about students, perhaps we can streamline the number of links that appear - for example, freshmen wouldn't have to see the Capstone or Apply to graduate links? Or maybe the activity itself is just too much? Maybe a closed card sort with predetermined categories would be easier and more effective?