What is card sorting?
Card sorting is when participants sort items (pages, categories, images or pieces of content, etc.) into related groups.
There are three types of card sorts: open card sorts closed card sorts and hybrid card sorts.
- Open card sorts: Participants place items in groups and name the categories.
- Closed card sort: Participants place items into predefined categories.
- Hybrid card sort: Participants place items in predefined categories, and also have the option to create and name additional categories.
Why is card sorting helpful?
Card sorting can provide insight on how people group and name content and information. This information can provide guidance when designing or assessing an information architecture.
When should card sorting be conducted?
An open card sort is typically done in the early stages of the design process or to evaluate an existing design, and the findings can be used to inform the new design or redesign.
Closed card sorts can be done before a redesign to see if the existing or proposed structure makes sense to users. It can also be used when adding new content or functionality to see if it fits within the existing structure. Finally, it can be used to pinpoint any unclear or misleading content on a site.
Card sorting with UserTesting
We suggest asking users to record themselves using the UserTesting platform while they complete an online card sort using a third-party tool (OptimalSort). Participants are asked to think out loud as they complete the card sort, so we can observe their behavior and listen to their feedback as they work on the activity.