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What is Card Sorting?
“A place for everything and everything in its place”. Few things are as frustrating as not being able to find something when you need it. We’ve all experienced that on some level, whether it’s the tool you need in a hardware store or the form you need on a website. Card-sorting allows your customers to “place” items where they would expect to find them. It is a method that allows participants to organize the items you provide them into the categories and labels that makes sense to them.
Why Use Card Sorting?
Allowing the customer to tell you how they view categorize and label content via this inexpensive method gives you a unique perspective into how they think. It empowers the user to have input in their experience and even suggest categorizations you might not have otherwise considered. Most importantly, it provides you with a solid path for restructuring content that is easy to navigate. This ultimately will create a pleasant and constructive experience for your user as they interact with your website or business.
How to Card-Sort:
Card-Sorting is just as it sounds… sorting cards. The steps involved are as follows:
- Write down all the elements that you wish to organize onto cards. Please limit your elements to one per card.
- Gather your participants. It can be a small or large group.
- Ask participants to sort the cards into groups that make sense to them.
- Allow them to create a new group, if they desire.
- Analyze the information and restructure accordingly.
Optimal Sort: Optimal Online Card Sorting Tool
HCD Toolkit > Card Sorting Spreadsheet Analysis Download.docx
HCD Toolkit > Card Sorting TipsheetHow to Use Trello for Card Sorting (Free with an account signup)
Card Sorting Book by Donna Spencer - Contains card sort analysis spreadsheet
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Card Sorting 101: A User Researcher’s Guide
Learn more about card sorting techniques