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Card Sorting

Supplies needed: Post-its, Sharpie

Estimated time: 20 min

Best to use when

Card sorting helps organize and understand how people perceive the information architecture for the application. It is best to use when there are a seemingly a lot of ideas and a lot to take in. Card sorting helps understand the many facets of a problem by giving you a top down view.

Card sorting will help you understand your users' expectations and understanding of your topics. It is often most useful once you have done some homework to find out about your users and understand your content.


Open Card Sorting - Best for Understand

  1. Take 5 minutes and have all participants write down as many ideas as possible on post-its. If people get stuck just have them write down what they think is the most important idea again and again till they come up with more.
  2. Have everyone put their post-its up on the wall and take a min to read over them.
  3. Start to find similarities between all of the ideas as they do that have them move around the post-its into similar groups.
  4. Once there are a couple themes in the groupings add a title card for the group.

Closed Card Sorting - Best for Test

  1. Write down the larger topic categories
  2. Write down several content cards
  3. Get 3–5 participants to do the exercise
  4. Ask the participant to make sets of content cards that best correspond to each topic card
  5. Observe and take notes of the participants' category-content mappings.
  6. At the end of each participant’s session, take a picture of which content cards were matched to topic cards.

For more detailed explanation see Card Sorting


Open Card Sorting

Open Card Sorting

Closed Card Sorting

Closed Card sorting Layout Closed Card Sorting Gif

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