Photo Album UX Card Sort Overview

In my position as a graphic and visual designer at the Institute for Genomic Biology I frequently had to dig through photographs to use in publications like magazines, brochures or fliers. However, as evidenced in the screenshot below, there were hundreds of folders. This made finding a relevant photograph difficult, and on many occasions I would find that the perfect photo existed in a folder I had no idea I should look in, so I didn’t use it. We had an organization problem. Many of the folders were headshots of students, employees, professors and postdocs, for example. When I started the project, I moved as many of these as I could into a headshots folder which cut down considerably on the number of folders, but there were still hundreds of folders to sort through. I consulted with a coworker who had a degree in library science and we decided to tackle a card sort with the help of other employees in the office to determine how to best categorize the photos.

Screenshot of photos folder, after most of the headshots had been moved into a ‘headshots” folder. As you can see, there were an overwhelming number of folders which made finding any photo I might need difficult.

Screenshot of photos folder, after most of the headshots had been moved into a ‘headshots” folder. As you can see, there were an overwhelming number of folders which made finding any photo I might need difficult.

The “headshots” folder, after I’d pulled them out of the main folder and into their own special folder.

The “headshots” folder, after I’d pulled them out of the main folder and into their own special folder.

 

Card Sort

My coworker and I decided that the best plan was to make paper cards and print the names of photo folders on them. We also had colored post it notes and sharpie pens that others in the office could write categories on. Since we weren’t aware of the all the possible categories and how they fit together we invited several people who worked with different departments and had been there for some time to help us. We also had a computer projected onto a screen so that we could see what photos were in folders, if we didn’t already know what they were.

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Results

We ended up with 15 categories, based on the structure of the IGB.

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