Exercise: Card Sorting

Organize and understand the information architecture.

Back to Understand

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.

For more details, read our blog post on Card Sorting.

Open Card Sorting Instructions (Understand)


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.


Have everyone put their post-its up on the wall and take a min to read over them.


Start to find similarities between all of the ideas as they do that have them move around the post-its into similar groups.


Once there are a couple themes in the groupings add a title card for the group.

Closed Card Sorting Instructions (User Testing)


Write down the larger topic categories


Write down several content cards


Get 3–5 participants to do the exercise


Ask the participant to make sets of content cards that best correspond to each topic card


Observe and take notes of the participants’ category-content mappings.


At the end of each participant’s session, take a picture of which content cards were matched to topic cards.

Open Card Sorting Example

Closed Card Sorting Examples