My client, who is in the legal research space, wanted to test whether the language used on their product resonated with users. So we ran an open card sort this week and it was great.
We got good data. Participants were asked to think-aloud while grouping content. The card sort reminded me of how much I enjoy qualitative research. It also emphasized how much of an essentialist have become.
Anyway, this is the setup we used:
A year ago, I took a course on qualitative methods, which has helped my work tremendously. From time to time, I put on my “participant observer hat” and I take in what’s happening around me.
The following are brief notes of what I observed today:
- Students were scheduled to take pictures for the yearbook on the 5th floor of Georgia Tech Library. Apparently, an email, with the wrong room number, was sent to students, which ended up confusing them.
- While I was working on something, I noticed a number of students going to R1 (see the diagram below) despite the signs (see image below) highlighting the room change.
- A person who was in room R1 essentially redirected traffic from room R1 to R2. The photographers in room R2 eventually added a hand-written sign to room R1‘s door
Without fail, all students mistakenly walked to room R1, a computer lab located on the right hand side of the diagram. They were then redirected to room R2.
The following sign appeared on all of the bookshelves, which was “visible” when a student exited either elevator. However, the placement of this sign worked against its purpose. People normally expect reference numbers on bookshelves; that expectation made the sign virtually invisible. This phenomenon is similar to Ad Blindness.
After 4 hours of watching students going to the wrong room, the following sign was placed on the door of room R1 by the photographers. It’s not elegant, but it did manage to get the job done.