Card sorting is an early design technique used to evaluate the information architecture of a site. In a card sorting session, participants organize topics into categories that make sense to them and they may also help you label these groups. To conduct a card sort, you can use actual cards, pieces of paper, or one of several online card-sorting software tools.
Benefits of Card Sorting
Card sorting will help one understand a users’ expectations and understanding of the topics. It is often most useful once you have done some homework to find out about your users and understand your content. Knowing how your users group information can help you:
- Build the structure for your website
- Decide what to put on the homepage
- Label categories and navigation
Open and Closed Card Sorting
Depending on your needs, you may choose to do an open or closed card sort. They differ as follows:
- Open Card Sort: Participants are asked to organize topics from content within your website into groups that make sense to them and then name each group they created in a way that they feel accurately describes the content. Use an open card sort to learn how users group content and the terms or labels they give each category.
- Closed Card Sort: Participants are asked to sort topics from content within your website into pre-defined categories. A closed card sort works best when you are working with a pre-defined set of categories, and you want to learn how users sort content items into each category.