Any experiences and insights on CARD or CUTA method?

6 Nov 2010 - 4:15pm
5 years ago
2 replies
1296 reads

 Hi ,

I recently used CARD method with soem modifications to help end-users of an application project their future workflow for a system that was being re-designed and articluate the requirements about the system within the context of the scenarios that were generated .

I got mixed results on using the method. I think it was a good way to structure eliciting scenarios with users and eliciting particulars such as " thoughts, worries, concerns" and " strategies" . However , I realized that users rarely liked to sit down and write on the cards or move them around, ( therefore , actually by the end of the 2nd session I was doing all the work! ) . The other thing I felt , was that users really don't think in the terms of deconstructing the workflow as the cards try to make them to . They seem to be more comfortable sitting back and talking. They are responsive for being probed for the particulars the cards suggest, but they dont seem to like to sit down and do that analysis on their own.

I would love to hear what your experiences and insights have been on the CARD method.




7 Nov 2010 - 4:08pm
Dana Chisnell


  There may be two things going on here, either singly or in combination.

  First, when I've used CARD with client teams, it is often the case that they have never documented what they're currently doing. And so, the classic inability of humans to predict the future also means they have nothing to base their aspirational experience on. If you're asking participants to visualize what the workflow will be like in the future, they're going to have a very hard time doing that. Humans are programmed to be reactive. You might be better to start with documenting the current workflow and then discussing where that works and where it doesn't with users.

  Second, if participants don't know what the future looks like they probably want more guidance from you about how to get there, which might be why they seemed not to be participating much. Although you had given them instructions, they actually didn't know what to do, or didn't feel confident about doing it. 


9 Nov 2010 - 7:17pm

Hi Dana,

Thanks a lot for sharing your insights!.

 I probed for the future by asking them to think of the current workflow and suggest what the future should be like. We had some technology decisions already in place so they almost had to project the new system considering those. The changes involved removing two portals that they used to need to access in order to get files and reports of transactions, and integrating them all in one system/interface. So in short, the new workflow was  much shorter and hassle free . However we wanted to use this situation as an opportunity to improve the design further , and prioritize and define the interface workflow. Thats why we held the workshop .


 I agree with you, something like a future workshop to break down current problems with the workflow would have helped a lot. I thought I can save time by somehow integrating  that into the CARD method. However given all these limitations and modifications, one thing that is still not clear for me is how the 'CARD's  help this process. I don't think our participants didnt interact with the CARDS because the situation they were faced with was complex  because of having to articulate the  current workflow, and project the future etc. . But I rather feel they ( or perhaps me too )  just didnt see the relevance of using CARDS versus sitting back and talking . ( Of course keep in mind I was probing using the CARD deconstruction and jumping hoops to document that myself as well . :) ) Perhaps there is a trick there in running the method , and a specific rational for using cards that I am missing ?


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