Modified Delphi Card Sorting

Out of all the different types of card sorting I’ve learned, this modified Delphi card sorting method is the most interesting one. This modified Delphi card sorting was created by Dr. Celeste Lyn Paul. It’s designed to collect insights about information architecture in pre-design user studies, while maintain as unbiased as possible.

It’s a modified method from the Delphi method. The Delphi method is a structured technique to collect insights from experts, and widely used for business forecasting.

How it works – See “The Modified-Delphi card sort can be summarized in the following four steps” section in the paper.

Things I’ve found interesting:

  • Each participant works based on the work from previous participants. But they could choose to start from scratch.
  • In this method, the “seed participants” could be one participants, or a pair. If a pair of participants work together, they have to be the “seed”.
  • The rest participants work on their own.
  • Participants should not be told how many previous participants have worked on the sort.
  • 8-10 is a good number range for participants.
  • Studies found that the participants were more talkative than those who were in open card sorting.

So far, I haven’t got a chance to use card sorting technique at work. It would be interesting to apply this modified Delphi card sorting method when a redesign comes.

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