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Enhancing NMLS: Gathering User Feedback on Organizing Menus and Pages to Achieve Better Design

The NMLS team is focused on enhancing the NMLS user experience (UX) to ensure the improved system is intuitive and user-friendly. The NMLS team recently conducted a card sorting exercise with 40 NMLS users to better understand the best way to organize menus and pages within the system. Read further to find out why card sorting is a valuable exercise and what we learned from NMLS users. 

What is “Card Sorting?” 

Card sorting is an activity website designers use to understand how users categorize information. Imagine having a deck of cards, each representing a piece of content or functionality on a website. Participants organize the cards into groups that make sense to them. These groups could be based on themes, topics, or any other logical structure. In our case, the NMLS team presented the 40 NMLS users with 19 “cards” − each containing a menu item in NMLS. Participants grouped the cards in ways that made sense to them. There was no right or wrong answer; users were simply asked to think about grouping the cards in ways that came naturally. The image below shows examples of the information that appeared on cards:

What did we learn? 

The NMLS team used statistical techniques to find similar groupings between user’s submissions. After analysis, the team found that four main groups emerged: 

  1. License Management 
  2. License Overview/History 
  3. MLO Testing and Education 
  4. Account Administration 

NMLS users primarily grouped cards, which are currently located under the “Filing” tab, under “License Management.” Many users added the actions to renew a license here as well. Additionally, NMLS users grouped cards under the current “Composite View” tab, under “License Overview/History.” Users placed functionality for viewing invoices and company relationships here as well. 

The last two groups, “MLO Testing and Education” and “Account Administration” followed a pattern similar to what is available under each section in NMLS today. 


The card sorting exercise was a useful method to help understand NMLS user preferences for locating certain information within the system. The NMLS team will use these findings to inform how NMLS is labeled and organized as it is being enhanced. These exercises are a vital tool for helping us shape the future of NMLS. We will continue to conduct card sorting and other UX tests as we enhance NMLS. Engaging with NMLS users and receiving direct feedback will lead to an improved system and a better NMLS experience. 

Interested in joining the NMLS User Experience Group and participating in similar feedback opportunities? Sign up here!

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