Happy World IA Day
What we learnt from sorting lollies

World IA Day Journal Tile 3

On Friday 5 March, the team at Folk came together online to celebrate World Information Architecture (IA) Day. World IA Day is a one-day celebration that seeks to encourage people to learn, share and grow strategies for developing IAs. The theme for International IA Day 2021 was ‘curiosity’ – “by being curious, we recognise our own and others’ discovery strategies.”

Our resident IA guru, Davina (Lead Experience Designer) devised a fun and functional activity for the gang – we would eat lollies, whilst sorting lollies. We huddled into a Zoom call and after ironing out some traditional Zoom call hiccups we fired up collaboration tool Miro, which allowed us to work together to do a virtual ‘card sort’. Card sorting is a useful tool for building IAs, which sees a group of users sort topics into categories.

Armed with Gummie Octopi, Snakes and Sour Watermelon Sharks (to name a few), we worked our way through 3 tasks.

Task 1 was an ‘open sort’ which meant that categories were up for grabs. We broke out into 3 teams, and spent 10 minutes sorting around 40 different lollies into various categories. Categories such as fruit, mints, chocolates, boxed, bars and gummies were applied. Interestingly there were few similarities between the 3 IAs at the end of the task.

Image1 1920

Tasks 2 and 3 were ‘closed sorts’ meaning that categories had already been defined, so our lollies (or topics) only had a few places where they might belong. This type of sort is more rigid and can be quick to expose any flaws with categories. We sorted first by categories, and then by countries. The results of our category sort surfaced more similarities than the previous task, and the country sort had us heading to Wikipedia – who knew that Chupa Chups were from Spain?

Image2 1920

The activities were surprisingly challenging even for seasoned IA designers, and generated interesting discussions. A good time was had by all.

Happy World IA Day! Head here to learn more.

Written by:
Casimir Nolan,
Digital Consultant