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Card sorting, CRE Engine and an exciting career opportunity

What you’ll get on this page:

1. Card sorting, and two tools for doing it

We read a huge amount of visitor feedback from our clients’ sites. One of the most common complaints from visitors is that they can’t find what they are looking for. This is a serious problem: these visitors are actually unable to spend money.

Fortunately, there are several straightforward ways of fixing the problem. One of them is to optimize the information architecture of your site. “Card sorting” is a simple technique that allows your users to do this for you.

Card sorting.

[Image credit.] Card sorting can help you to improve your site architecture.

With card sorting, you write the name of each section of your site onto an index card. You then ask one of your users to arrange the cards into groups that make logical sense. If you do this with several users, you’ll start to notice trends (and new ideas) about how your site’s content should be organized.

The following tools make card sorting easier.

(By the way, we never profit in any way from recommending software.)

OptimalSort: a tool that enables you to carry out card sorting online

How OptimalSort works.

An OptimalSort test for a fictitious pet store. (“Rat toys” was a joke, but it turns out they do exist. In fact, you can even buy edible bedtime books for your rats, arguably the ultimate long-tail product.)

OptimalSort is a useful web app that saves you from having to get your users into the same room as you. You create a test in OptimalSort’s interface, then OptimalSort gives you a URL to send to your test participants. The participants, (ideally real users of your site), carry out the tests in their own time, saving you the time and hassle of having to moderate each test.

Once several card-sorting sessions have been carried out, OptimalSort collates the data into several useful reports, like this one:

OptimalSort's "dendrogram report."

OptimalSort’s “dendrogram reports” combine the results from all of your card-sorting sessions in a way that helps you to create your information architecture.

Treejack: a tool that helps you to test your existing information architecture

The company that created OptimalSort also has another tool, Treejack, which helps you to identify problems with your existing navigation structure.

A test in Treejack

A test in Treejack.

Treejack allows you to give users tasks, such as

Once you’ve given the users their tasks, you then cross your fingers that they’ll click on the right part of your navigation structure. Treejack compiles their responses into reports, like the “pietree report” (shown below), which helps you to visualize problems with your navigation structure.

Treejack's "pietree" report.

Treejack’s detailed-path-analysis report (affectionately known as the “pietree”).

To discover more great tools for understanding your visitors, see this article.

2. Announcing CRE Engine: the easiest-ever way to grow your conversion rate

CRE Engine logo.

For most of our clients, we provide finished copy and designs, which they then code and implement themselves.

However, some clients have asked us to code and implement the tests too. So over the past 12 months, we have developed a framework of technologies that enables us to do all the work of a project, while keeping you in control. We call it CRE Engine. CRE Engine allows us to do all the research, copywriting, design, coding and QA—and then, once the new version of each page is ready, you simply give us approval for the split-test to go live.

The entire project needn’t take more than 30 minutes of your IT department’s time.

We’ll be rolling out CRE Engine during 2013, first to existing clients then to new ones. If you’d like to be considered for it, complete our contact form, and we’ll send you further details.

Unfortunately, we can’t work with companies that have annual profits of less than $500,000. There just aren’t enough of us to go around. Please don’t take offense if this describes your business. We can still help you via our articles and reports.

3. An exciting career opportunity

CRE wall sign.

Find out what it’s like to join us, here.

We’re recruiting conversion consultants.

The top reasons our existing consultants joined us were

  1. Work from anywhere in the world you choose.
  2. Collaborate with prestigious clients.
  3. Get paid exceptionally well.

To see the other reasons—and other information about the role—visit our “Careers” page.

(If you work for one of our clients—or for a company actively considering using our services—we can’t consider you, unfortunately.)

So, how can we help you?

How-to guides

How-to Guides

Our selection of easy reading will familiarize you with important tools and topics.

To explore these helpful resources, click here.

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Work with us

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If you want us to work on your website personally and dramatically improve its profitability, visit our "Services" page and then contact us for more information.

If you have any comments or questions about this article, contact us.

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