All You Need to Know About Card Sorting
Discover users' mental models for people-centred information architecture
3 min read
WHAT IS CARD SORTING?
Card sorting is a research method that enhances a site's information architecture (IA). IA centres on 'organising', 'structuring', and 'labelling' content actively and durably. In Card Sorting, users arrange topics into sections according to how they appeal to their senses.
Card sorting helps you carve out plausible information architecture, workflow, menu structure and website navigation paths. You can use actual cards, scraps of paper, or paper sorting software to conduct a card sorting test, and you can either do an open card sort or a closed card sort.
In an Open Card Sort, users are asked to itemise topics from content on the website into groups according to how content appeals to them. They will then proceed to name each group and describe the content. It is an appropriate method for new products. Meanwhile, a Closed Card sort allows users to sort topics from the content on the webpage into well-defined subsections. This method is appropriate when new content and designs are being added to an existing product.
WHAT CAN YOU USE CARD SORTING FOR?
Card Sorting helps you learn how best the information in your content makes sense to users, based on how they group the topics on your web page content. This information will guide you to organise your design in a way that makes the best sense to users, thereby making your product easier to use and more satisfactory to users. Depending on your objectives, you can use an open or closed card sorting technique.
In shorter terms, Card Sorting Tests help you to:
Identify gaps in content models; helping you discover whether your description of your content aligns with your users' description of it.
Understand Users' mindsets; enabling you to figure out what appeals to your users' senses and what does not appeal to them.
Test your information; authenticating your product's content.
Identify the right labels; helping you test and find out which label that makes the most sense to users.
Card Sorting helps you answer questions like:
What should be on the display screen?
What categories should be created, and why?
What are the best ways users can absorb information to help them complete a task?
WHY SHOULD YOU CONDUCT CARD SORTING?
- Classification and Labelling of Products: Card Sorting helps improve your product's information structure and labelling. It provides you with information on what to display on your homepage. It helps in structuring the categories appropriately.
- Content Hierarchy: Card Sorting helps you list content topics and identify the most important ones.
STEPS IN CONDUCTING CARD SORTING
Write down each item on a card
Attach pictures to the items
Publish your test
Ask users to arrange the content into (new or pre-determined) groups according to how the content appeals to them
Analyse the results
THE VALUE OF CARD SORTING
It provides a good foundation to help product teams structure their design and improve their content arrangement and labels in ways that enhance the user’s experience.
WHEN CAN YOU USE CARD SORTING?
Card Sorting is necessary when you want to; design a new product, a website section or improve an existing website. Figure out how users categorise your content Compare the similarities and differences of users' groupings
Run your Card Sorting test with Crowd
See how users understand and categorise the information in your content.