How to choose categories for a local business listing website?


Sorry if this is in the wrong section.

I am creating a business directory website for my local town which will also include events and jobs.

However, I am struggling to find the best way to create the categories for each section.

I think I have the business categories ok which I think covers most businesses and services. These are as follows:

  • [myTown] High Street (this will include shops)
  • Business and Office
  • Childcare
  • Clothing
  • Computers and Telecoms
  • Education and Tuition
  • Entertainment
  • Finance and Legal
  • Food and Drink
  • Good Suppliers and Retailers
  • Health and Beauty
  • Motoring
  • Pets
  • Property and Maintenance
  • Tradesmen and Construction
  • Transport
  • Travel and Tourism

However, I am now a bit stuck on the events and job categories.

Should I be keeping these categories similar in each section to keep consistency, or different? I have found I can probably have 6 or 7 categories for the events which are as follows:

  • Corporate
  • Social
  • Virtual and Online
  • Fundraising
  • Festivals
  • Community
  • Events in The Village

The list of categories for the jobs section includes pretty much every business sector which I feel is way too long.

Is there a good way or practice to determine categories for such a website? Should they all be the same across all sections - mainly the business listing and job categories?

Any advice would be great, thank you!

I would suggest doing an online card sort. You want to make it easy for the site visitor to find things, not you as the company. :slightly_smiling_face:

Try Optimal workshop.

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hi, i totally agree with previous comment. you should try card sorting.

it’s a great research technique and helps a lot with labeling. i have a whole website on this topic and i also created a list of best online card sorting tools. here’s the link Card Sorting Tools

Feel free to contact me for any further info, i would be happy to help!

Thanks for the replies.

Yes card sorting sounds like a good exercise, but how would I determine which categories to use in the first place?


Great question, there are different types of Card Sorting: Open, Closed and Hybrid
The one that you need is either an Open(you let respondents name the groups) or a Hybrid one,

check out this info it should help a lot

Card Sorting website

Open Card Sorting

Testers sort cards into groups which they label themselves. Great choice when you want to understand how users group your content.

Closed Card Sorting

It’s when you give respondents categories to sort the cards into. I recommend this one, in case you want to find out how users match cards with existing content structure.

Hybrid Card Sorting

Respondents sort your cards into defined categories or create their own. Combining the best of Open and Closed Card Sorting, it allows you to validate information grouping strategy while still leaving respondents room for free expression.

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Same as the others said, this is the exact use case for a card sort. An open sort is ideal for mapping your information architecture to your users’ mental models and would be my . Closed sorts aren’t very insightful, and overall an open sort will be more powerful and save time/money. I don’t use open sorts in IA projects anymore, just for other special use cases. If you are confident in your existing categories or want to test an existing navigation, a tree sort would be beneficial.

NN/g has some great, short videos on card sorts and methods, and doing remote sessions. Optimal has a good 101 intro to cardsorting. Optimal Workshop can handle larger unmoderated remote sessions and the related analysis well, but it’s spendy for just card sorting when over their free teir (12+ participants?). If you are doing remote moderated sessions you could also use an online whiteboard tool like Miro, Mural or a Google Jamboard.

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