Services Card Sort & Revised IA

So this time I did a proper card sort, because the services section is a lot bigger than the others. How to group services and the pages therein is also a lot less clear cut.


I have to admit that it was a lot more ad hoc than I might have otherwise liked. Ideally, we would’ve done mixed group like when I last did a services card sort, but this time instead, I had multiple groups of users. While admittedly not the most representative groups, going through the exercise with them gave me a pretty good idea on a new IA (information architecture) anyway.

  • 2 groups of students – mixed undergrad and graduate – Student Advisory Committee
  • 2 groups of staff – mixed teams/units
  • 1 group – other (I got new staff that isn’t familiar with academic libraries)

I did the card sort silent, open style, meaning no talking and no pre-specified categories. As usual, afterwards, I asked questions about why the group made certain decisions, and whether they would change their mind on some things, as well as what might have been confusing.


I used xSort, which is a great little app that lets you do card sorts and helps you analyze them. If you’re getting individuals to do it, you can even get them to do it on the computer, but since I prefer mixed groups, I enter it in manually myself afterwards.

services card sort result

Some clear groups emerged, and I ended up cutting it off 0.6, which while a little high only applies to one item.

Admittedly, sometimes there is a small skew one way as well because of whether a label is clear to users are not. So, I’ve added a couple of notes on whether a label might need to be changed.

New Information Architecture

Based on the results, this is the new IA as of right now:

  • AudioVisual Services
  • Borrowing
    • Fines and Penalties
    • Holds and Recalls
    • Library Cards
    • Loan Periods
    • Self Checkout
  • Borrowing from a non-Ryerson Library
    • Article not Available at Ryerson
    • Direct Borrowing – unclear
    • InterLibrary Loan Policies – under policies instead?
    • NRC-CISTI DIscover – either knew or had no idea, but still available?
    • RACER
    • Request a Title via InterLibrary Loan
    • Searching AV at a non-Ryerson Library
  • Technology – I originally named this ‘Computers & Technology’, maybe ‘Technology & Tools’?
    • DVD Player Lending
    • Laptop Loan Program
    • Off-Campus/Remote Access – change? some confusion on this
    • Printers and Photocopiers
    • Refworks
    • Technology Assistance
  • Course Readings (One-Stop Service) – label unclear but focus on faculty?
  • Facilities
    • Computer Labs – even though this is related to Technology, most people consider this a ‘space’
    • Learning Commons
    • Lost and Found
    • Screening/Viewing Room (formerly Screening Facility) – still unclear?
    • Study Space
    • Washrooms
  • Instructional Services – label unclear but focus on faculty?
  • Research Help Services

Now that I have a new IA, time for mockups!

Author: Cynthia

Technologist, Librarian, Metadata and Technical Services expert, Educator, Mentor, Web Developer, UXer, Accessibility Advocate, Documentarian

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