Let's say that I'm trying to determine how many levels deep I should make my filtering tool in my search screen for a set of data. I've got meta for my data set that goes 10-15 layers deep. I just don't think my users will want to go that deep. I want to provide filtering, but for the sake of simplicity I also want to make sure I'm meeting users expectations without creating a situation where they feel like they are "drinking from the firehose" so to speak.

Is there a card sorting exercise that can be quickly conducted with 8-10 of my users that will help me identify the depth to which I should allow filtering?

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    I'd love to try answering this question, eeklipzz. Can you tell us a little bit about the people using this and the data they're searching, if it's not confidential? Jun 21, 2014 at 23:54
  • Sure, no problem. The data set is a list of products of various sorts (think retail store). The users are customers ranging in demographic. I know there are better ways to determine this information, but let's say budget only allows for some quick hallway tests. I've seen how a card sorting exercise is a quick/low budget way of gathering this sort of info. The answer to my question would identify specifically a type of card sorting exercise that could help reveal an appropriate depth. Hope that clarifies what I'm seeking from answers.
    – eeklipzz
    Jun 23, 2014 at 18:21

1 Answer 1


Limiting how deep your users can search may come back to haunt you later on. I think a more appropriate solution is to include in depth search metrics instead. If your primary concern is your users getting fire hosed with data, then allow them to get all the relevant data and then sort through it simply and easily.

Unless you have a tiny user base doing a quick test exercise to see how deep people want to go is unlikely to give you a broad enough range of data to make an accurate assumption.

The only other alternative I see is to give them the full fire hose, and include analytics to track what people are actually using, and then after a sufficient % of your user base has been tracked or sufficient time has elapsed to limit your users selections, go back and limit what they can see.

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