Card Sorting

This method is really helpul subsequently to a brainstorming-type-of-method. After gathering lots of ideas some clustering is needed!
Number of ParticipantsFacilitatorsCategoryDurationLevel of Difficulty
51 Moderator, 1 NotetakerEmpathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, Test, 20-30minSimple


Card sorting is a method used to help design or 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.
Card sorting is a technique in user experience design in which a person tests a group of subject experts or users to generate a dendrogram (category tree) or folksonomy. It is a useful approach for designing information architecture, workflows, menu structure, or web site navigation paths.


  • Sticky Notes
  • Marker
  • Flags
  • Digital Apps (e.g. Miro)
  • Pens, Pencils


No preparation needed.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Individuals will be divided into groups of five at least
  2. The oldest will serves as a moderator
  3. Participants sort cards into categories given to them, and can create their own categories as well
  4. The moderator will have to see to it card are sorted properly under respective groups
  5. Arrange card that from most important to less important
  6. Card sorting should be done within 10-20 minutes.

Remarks, Tips, Limitations

  • Limit the number of cards. It is tempting to want the participant to sort “ALL” of your content, but be mindful of participant fatigue. We would recommend 30 to 40 at the absolute outside, especially for an open sort.
  • If possible, randomize the order of presentation so that each piece of content has a chance to be sorted earlier in the session.
  • Provide the participants with an estimate of how long the card sort will take before beginning the session to help them better gauge the required time and effort.
  • Consider the benefits of requiring participants to complete your sort. For an open sort, if possible consider requiring them to sort the cards, but perhaps not to label them, since that might be the more challenging part of the task, providing you have limited your items as suggested.
  • Consider an open sort as part 1 and a closed sort as part 2 of your process. One allows you to learn what goes together, while 2 allows you to really test out your labels to see if they are intuitive to your participants.


  1. The technique is quick but the analysis can take serious time
  2. The results are so varied they’re nearly worthless
  3. Cards sorting may not go deep enough


Paul, Celeste Lyn (November 2008). “A modified Delphi approach to a new card sorting methodology”. Journal of Usability Studies. 4 (1): 7–30.
Tullis, Tom (3 March 2015). “Card-sorting Tools”. Measuring User Experience. p. 1. Retrieved 29 August 2017.

Contributed by Jason Appiah.