What is a Card Sort?

What is a card sort?

Card sorting is a usability evaluation method used to design and/or evaluate the information architecture for a product or website. Card sorting can also be used to identify logical groupings for toolbars and menus. During a card sort, representative users are provided cards containing items to sort into meaningful groups or categories.

There are different types of card sorting methods:

  • Open Card Sort – Representative users to sort cards into groups that they label.
  • Closed Card Sort – Representative users sort cards into pre-labeled groups.
  • Inverse/Reverse Card Sort or Tree Testing – Representative users are asked to find specific information or topics that have already been sorted into labeled groups.

 When should it be used?

Card sorting is typically performed during the design phase for a product or website when the information architecture is still being developed. However, it can also be used during the development phase or after a product or website has been released to identify if there are potential usability issues associated with how information is grouped or labeled.

What do you get?

The output of a card sort typically includes findings and recommendations associated with groupings and/or labels that can be used to define or validate the information architecture of a product or website and improve discoverability of information.