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Assignment Two

Please submit this assignment by midnight of the due day as indicated in Table 3 of the course syllabus. 

All students need to work on the following TWOquestions.

Question 1 (55 points):

Suppose that the College of Information at the UNT is in aprocess of redesigning its website. You have been assigned the task of designing the new website and would need to lead the research phase.

1.1 (25 points):

What methods would you use to try to understand users’ needs of the site? Please pick 2 methods that you think are the most appropriate and discuss the following aspects for each method individually:

1.1.1. The reason behind selecting this method1.1.2. The method definition and capabilities1.1.3. The method advantages and disadvantages.1.2 (30 points)  

Conduct a benchmarking exercise (i.e. competitive analysis) by comparing the College of Business website (https://cob.unt.edu/) with:

College of Business at University of Texas-Arlington (https://www.uta.edu/business/)

To conduct the benchmarking analysis:

1. Visit the websites and try to recognize the elements of the information architecture behind each one.2. Use Chapter 10 of Brown’s book and follow a similar approach used in it (i.e. a scanned copy of this chapter is attached in the assignment folder)3. Compare the labeling system, organization system, search system, and navigation system of the selected websites.

Question 2 (45 points):

In this question, you will conduct a card sorting exercise using OptimalSort application and a list of cards that you can find in the attached excel sheet. Please refer to The Manual of Using OptimalSort in this Assignment 2 folder to see the step-by-step guidance. 

1. Register for a free account at OptimalSort website: https://www.optimalworkshop.com/register2. Start a new study and insert your cards. You can enter the cards individually or import the excel sheet. See the screenshot below for more clarifications.


3. After inserting your cards, configure your survey by selecting an open sort type and inserting a welcome message.4. Define your participants. The free version of OptimalSort enables you to select up to 10 participants. In this exercise, select 5.5. Conduct data analysis and provide the following diagrams:a. Number of participantsb. Average groups participants sorted the cards into c. Average time taken for participants to complete the sorting activities d. What is the new site/application structure you would like to propose? Please include the normalized categories and corresponding sub-categories in your proposal. e. Use at least two visualization approaches to verify the new site structure you proposed (e.g., similarity matrix, standardization grid, and dendrograms) 6. Verify your answers with screenshots and annotations to explain the website/application design. 7. Organize your answer by exploring the steps 1-6. You need to provide a screenshot for each expected result. 

————————————– End of Assignment Two ———————————-

Brown, D. M. (2010). Chapter 10: Competitive Reviews. In Communicating design: developing web site documentation for design and planning (2nd ed.). New




Data Analysis Method with Using Optimal Sort

Note: The following example is based on a website redesign project of an IT department

I. Identify areas of overlap in participant generated categories

This process makes it possible to compare categories created by participants based on their similarity

and difference and suggest new effective categories.

Step 1. Under Categories, identify similarities in titles and, more importantly, content of those

categories. Just because similar phrasing or words have been used does not mean that the content of

categories is the same. Be sure to expand the category by clicking on the plus icon to the left of the

name to see cards placed under each.

Step 2. Create a new category by using Standardized Selected Categories at the top of the screen (Pic 1).

Be sure you have highlighted ONLY the categories you want to combine before proceeding. You will

need to give the ‘new’ category a name (Pic 2).

Picture 1.

Picture 2.

Step 3. The data associated with cards placed in these new categories will now be combined (Pic 3).


A new category Total number of cards included

Cards placed Frequency Participant in category of association supplied label

Picture 3.

II. Data analysis

Sometimes, you collect data from different user groups. In Optimal Sort it is possible to view data

generally or by a user group. To do that, you need to go through the following steps:

Step 1. Go to Participants tab

Step 2. Click select based on questionnaire

Step 3. Decide whether you want to select or deselect participants who answered certain survey

questions with a certain answer, e.g., Select participants who answered ‘What is your role at MU’ with

‘student’ (Pic 4).

Options for selecting or deselecting participants

Options for Specific question you group you want question completion want analyzed the question applied to

Picture 4.

Step 4. Click Update.

Step 5. Scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page and click ‘Go’ next to the Reload results from

selection box (Pic 5).


Picture 5.

After you come up with a manageable number of new categories based on the similarity of the content

of participant generated categories, you need to validate the strength of relatedness among the cards.

To do this, you can use a number of tools, e.g., the similarity matrix, the dendogram, and the

standardization grid.

The Similarity Matrix shows how many participants agree with each pair combination of cards. For each

possible pairing of two cards in the survey, a count is provided at the corresponding point in the matrix.

The count describes how many times the two cards were placed in the same category by all participants.

The darker the cell, the more probability there is that these two cards should belong under the same

category (Pic 6).

Shows how many participants are Shows total number of represented participants

Picture 6.

This cell shows the

frequency of ‘Desktop

software support’ and

Tiger Tech being placed in

the same category



Standardization Grid shows the distribution of cards across the standardized categories you have

defined. Each table cell shows the number of times a card was sorted into the corresponding

standardized category (Pic 7).

Looking down a column allows you to assess which cards were placed into a particular category.

Looking across a row allows you to compare how frequencly a card was placed into different categories

Picture 7

Dendograms are used to demonstrate data clusters. Read more about interpretation of dendograms

here: http://www.optimalworkshop.com/help/kb/optimalsort/interpreting-optimalsort-dendrogram

Note: During the data analysis process, you probably have noticed that the card sorting is not a

completely objective and precise technique. Many times, you need to make some subjective

decisions. Different participants will sort cards in different ways, so the cluster analysis and

dendrogram won't produce the ideal information architecture for you. However, OptimalSort can

help you start examining the patterns and the strength of the relationships. In order to pull

together a suitable grouping of items, you need to refer to the Cluster analysis, the Dendrogram,

the raw sort results plus participants provided grouping names. In the real world, you also need


to under the business rules or constraints which imply certain items have to go in certain places.

Sometimes, organizational politics will also influence the decision of a good information


Certainly, you can also use the data and results from your card sorting study to help convince

development and managerial teams to make changes of a site. That is like the example I gave

you in the lecture notes—you may propose new IA structure. Overall, you need to apply a

combination of knowledge from the cluster analysis, dendrogram, and participants’ comments

during the sort, in order to create a good start of information architecture. You also can use other

data you have, such as usability studies and web logs to inform your analysis. Please

remember—this statistical output is great reference sources that you backup your decisions, but it

is not the only sources that you can rely on.

Due to the limited time of this course, we only learn the open card sort. In future, you can run a

reverse sort/closed card sort to test your new site structure/hierarchy.



ID Label
1 Sailing
2 Scuba Diving
3 Shoeshine
4 Sightseeing
5 Skydiving
6 Snorkeling
7 Fishing
8 Aerobics class
9 Beginning Yoga
10 Boutique
11 Casual dining
12 Coffee shop
13 Concierge
14 Exercise room
15 Guided hikes and treks
16 Guided tours
17 Hiking trail map
18 Power Yoga class
19 Rock climbing
20 Massage
21 Pools
22 Sauna
23 Tennis courts
24 Water aerobics – Advanced class
25 On-site day care
26 Souvenir shop
27 Reservations
28 Resort directions
29 Resort map