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Create a Compelling Comparison Chart

WYSWHYMD

Yes, I did just make up a new acronym: what you see will help you make decisions. This is a blog post about how I researched and documented my findings on WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) website editors.

Researching what online tools you should use is tedious. There seems to be a new app or website that would satisfy your needs released everyday. Of course, there are individuals and blogs that compare tools for you, but sometimes you want to DIY. How do you record your findings? In a Word document as a bullet point list? In a spreadsheet with columns and rows?

How I Did It

I used Cardsmith and made a comparison chart. Specifically, I created a grid board where the columns were titled with features I needed, and the rows were specific WYSIWYG editors. Similar to what I would do in a spreadsheet, but with a little extra depth.

The features I was looking for included must haves: the ability to add pages, ability to move sections around, add a gallery, integrate Google analytics; and one want: a way to easily use a custom sub-domain.

comparison chart column titles

 

Next, I created a card for each feature column that further described what I was looking for. Here’s the card I created for the feature: “Need: gallery”

detailed requirements of a feature

 

Here’s the extra depth I was talking about: using a checklist to detail the requirements I was looking for helped me stay focused during research and evaluate each editor to the same standards. During research, I was a lot more focused because I knew exactly what I was looking for. If a tool had both of the requirements, it was given a “good” rating. If it only had one, it got a “meh” rating. And if it didn’t meet any requirements, it was “bad”. And of course, each rating had a corresponding color.

requirements evaluated

 

Here’s what the complete row looked like after fully researching the editor Wix:

finished Wix research

 

And here’s what the board looked like after I was exhausted from researching seven other editors. You’ll notice that the last column is all yellow. This is because I wasn’t completely sure what I was looking for, so I didn’t create any checklist requirements. The result? My research was less than stellar and everything ended up rated “meh”. However, most of those cards do hold links to helpful information.

the whole board zoomed out

 

The white cards at the beginning of the rows also served more of a purpose than showing an editor’s name. They also held notes, links, and the monthly cost. Then by using grid totals, I was able to show the cost at the end of the row, providing even more information at a glance.

finished comparison chart

 

There are two main reasons why I loved using Cardsmith to do my research.

  1. It’s so visual. When I was done researching it was easy to see which editors met more of my needs, and how well they met them. When I was done, I rearranged the rows so the editors with the most green cards were at the top. Boom. The decision was practically made for me. (Remember: WYSWHYMD!)
  2. Cards serve two purposes: hold information, and express that information at a glance. Yes, the board is easy to consume at a glance, but it also holds a wealth of information. As I did my research I was able to take notes not just on the editor in general, but about each feature, as well. This was great for storing links to things like FAQ answers or tips.

If you’re wondering what WYSIWYG editor you should use, feel free to use my board as a guide, but I recommend creating one that will be personalized for your specific needs.

 

How You Can Do It

Whether you’re comparing website editors, social media profile managers, or vacation spots, research is an important part of making a decision. But research doesn’t have to be hard, and your results don’t have to be in spreadsheets. I made this template to help you get started on your own comparison board.

  1. Make sure you’re signed in if you want to copy the template to your boards.
    1. Don’t have an account? Create one for free.
  2. Open the template, then copy it from the board menu in the upper left corner.
  3. In your copy of the board:
    1. rename the first column for whatever it is you’re comparing.
    2. rename the feature columns with your needs and wants.
    3. update the feature cards’ checklists with your requirements.
  4. Start researching and comparing!
    1. Make a new row for each item you’re comparing.
    2. Copy feature cards and move them into the new row so you don’t have to re-type requirements.
    3. Feel free to change up the colors, rating names, etc.
  5. Share your findings with the world (if you want).
    1. Share your board publicly and tweet us the link @gocardsmith
    2. Brownie points to whoever creates a comparison chart for Cardsmith. (: