Popular placements matrix for closed card sorts

The popular placements matrix shows the percentage of participants who sorted each card into the corresponding category, and attempts to propose the most popular groups based on each individual card’s highest placement score.

In this matrix, we can see that the clustered groups contain cards with very high agreements between participants, which gives a good indication that the groupings are a good place for us to start when coming up with our initial draft IA. 

Note that ‘Art exhibitions’ card has been placed in ‘Art and culture’ 100% of the time. This is probably correct, but an observant information architect might suspect that participants are simply matching the ‘Art – ‘ card with the ‘Art – ‘ category, in other words, pattern matching. 

It is always good to apply this level of critical thinking when reviewing the results of a card sort – and when creating your study in the first place, so that you can avoid these kinds of ‘gotchas’.

Remember that you are the one who is doing the thinking, not the technique… you are the one who puts it all together into a great solution. Follow your instincts, take some risks, and try new approaches.
Donna Spencer