People Interact

Blog about people-centered design by Lisa Chow and Sandra Sajonas.

Tag Archives: card-sort

Monthly Method Spotlight: Desirability Testing

Desirability Testing

What: Desirability testing studies users’ emotional response to a design.

When/why: This method is most useful when you are trying to make a good first impression with your target audience. Desirability testing can be used to inform the team as to why different designs evoke certain responses.

How: Using limited, chosen vocabulary, ask users’ to picks words that most relevantly describe the design. Use a mixture of qualitative and quantitative methods like triading, questionnaires, and card sort.

Tips: See Microsoft’s reaction cards for a list of 118 pre-selected descriptor words.

Interested in using/applying these methods in your work? Contact us for information.


Monthly Method Spotlight: Brain Writing

Brain Writing



  • When there are many individual problems that require solutions.
  • When a group needs a lot of ideas in a short period of time.
  • When there are several shy people in the group.
  • When ideas need to flow freely.

How: Have a group of people write their idea or question on their own sheet of paper.  Rotate the sheets to different people and build off what the others wrote on their paper. Continue until everyone has written on everyone else’s sheet.

Tips: Keep the group small (6-8 people). At the end of the session collect the ideas and organize using other Monthly Method ideas like: dot-voting, card sorting, task and error analysis, etc.

Interested in using/applying these methods in your work? Contact us for information.

Monthly Method Spotlight: Card Sort


card-sortWhat: Card Sort/Card Sorting

When/why: This low-tech method is a way to get feedback from your target audience/users for designing the information architecture (i.e. navigation menus, drop-down categories, etc.) of an interface (i.e. website, online form, etc.).

How: Example scenario – You would like to create a community directory of resources and services. There are many categories and possibly subcategories (i.e. education, job help, small business, health, etc.) that you need to organize. Have users/participants write down the concepts on post-it notes and index cards and arrange/organize them in ways that make sense to them.

Tips: Take pictures of participants’ card sorts for analysis.

Interested in using/applying these methods in your work? Contact us for more info.