Why Use a Card Sort

Main Image

WHY USE A CARD SORT

by Evan-Zane Green

Card sorting is a user research tool that allows designers to understand how users perceive the structure of a site or app. Through using card sorts, the teams that work on a project get a better understanding of how to structure their product in order for it to appeal to as many people as possible; this is the information architecture. When setting up a card sort, it is important to get as many people as possible to test it so that you can get many different opinions to compare. It may even be necessary to run the card sort multiple times. When creating the cards for a card sort, the best thing to do is to make sure that you make enough cards so that you can get a good idea of how your users think. If you have too few, the end result may be too generic. If you have too many, the analysis may be too cumbersome and the card sort itself may be too time consuming and this can frustrate the testers. In any card sort, one of the most important things is to ensure that the facilitator influences the testers as little as possible. The goal is to get their opinion, not yours.

Types of Card Sorts

Open Card Sort:

In this method, participants are given a stack of cards which they will have to group together however they choose. After all of their groups are made they will make labels for each of their groups. This method is commonly used for new or existing site (or app) structures or organizing products on a site(Pandey).

Closed Card Sort:

For this type of card sort, testers are still given a deck of cards to sort, however, the groups for the card sorts are created beforehand by the people who set up the card sort. “This method is normally used when adding new content to an existing site or gaining a second round of insights after an open card sort”(Pandey).

Remote Card Sort:

This is a card sort that is done on the testers’ devices and, as a result, does not require the testers and (or) the facilitators to be around each other. The perfect option during a pandemic, for example. This means testers can work on it at their own pace. Furthermore, the computer can evaluate the data for you so accessing the results is easier.

Card Sort Image

The Pros and Cons

As with everything, the card sort has its advantages and disadvantages so let’s take a look. This will help you decide if a card sort is right for your project.

Pros:

  • It’s low-risk. Card sorts are pretty painless for everyone involved, as it relates to both the monetary cost and how much time it would take to complete.
  • It’s been vetted. Many people have used cart sorts over the years. It is a vetted process so, whether you are new or an expert, you have nothing to worry about. There are plenty of resources on how to make one and it is proven to be useful.
  • It gets you close to your users. You can learn about how your users think and what they would expect from a similar product so that you can structure yours accordingly.
  • It is a good foundation. It won’t be the end of your research but it definitely gives you a good jumping off point for the rest of your design process.

Cons:

  • It can be hard to understand. Labels and other elements of the card sort can be hard to understand without context. This gets especially difficult if the organizers of the card sort are trying to remain silent.
  • It can have varied results. People think differently and so results can be varied and may sometimes go in a direction you do not expect.
  • It can be time consuming to analyse. When you have to do the data analysis manually, rather than with a computer, it can be time consuming, as opposed to the setup which is relatively quick.
  • It may only be superficial. Card sorts may only cover the basics of the problem you are trying to solve, especially if the testers do not have enough context to sort the cards the way they need to.

Analysis

When analysing a cart sort, the goal is to check for trends in groups and tester rationales. You will be looking for:

  • Similarities in the comments that were made (it is best to record the comments from card sort sessions).
  • How often cards appeared together.
  • How often cards appeared in certain categories.

Sources

  • Nodder, Chris. “Finding the Information to Use in a Card Sort – UX Foundations: Information Architecture Video Tutorial: LinkedIn Learning, Formerly Lynda.com.” LinkedIn, 31 July 2013, www.linkedin.com/learning/ux-foundations-information-architecture/finding-the-information-to-use-in-a-card-sort?u=41910388.
  • Pandey, Saurav. Card Sorting - What, How & the Perks. 31 May 2020, uxdesign.cc/card-sorting-what-how-the-perks-29f6cb020270.
  • Image by Patrick Perkins

Credits

“Card Sorting at FORA.tv” by Sarah B Brooks is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Main Image

WHY USE A CARD SORT

by Evan-Zane Green

Card sorting is a user research tool that allows designers to understand how users perceive the structure of a site or app. Through using card sorts, the teams that work on a project get a better understanding of how to structure their product in order for it to appeal to as many people as possible; this is the information architecture. When setting up a card sort, it is important to get as many people as possible to test it so that you can get many different opinions to compare. It may even be necessary to run the card sort multiple times. When creating the cards for a card sort, the best thing to do is to make sure that you make enough cards so that you can get a good idea of how your users think. If you have too few, the end result may be too generic. If you have too many, the analysis may be too cumbersome and the card sort itself may be too time consuming and this can frustrate the testers. In any card sort, one of the most important things is to ensure that the facilitator influences the testers as little as possible. The goal is to get their opinion, not yours.

Types of Card Sorts

Open Card Sort:

In this method, participants are given a stack of cards which they will have to group together however they choose. After all of their groups are made they will make labels for each of their groups. This method is commonly used for new or existing site (or app) structures or organizing products on a site(Pandey).

Closed Card Sort:

For this type of card sort, testers are still given a deck of cards to sort, however, the groups for the card sorts are created beforehand by the people who set up the card sort. “This method is normally used when adding new content to an existing site or gaining a second round of insights after an open card sort”(Pandey).

Remote Card Sort:

This is a card sort that is done on the testers’ devices and, as a result, does not require the testers and (or) the facilitators to be around each other. The perfect option during a pandemic, for example. This means testers can work on it at their own pace. Furthermore, the computer can evaluate the data for you so accessing the results is easier.

Card Sort Image

The Pros and Cons

As with everything, the card sort has its advantages and disadvantages so let’s take a look. This will help you decide if a card sort is right for your project.

Pros:

  • It’s low-risk. Card sorts are pretty painless for everyone involved, as it relates to both the monetary cost and how much time it would take to complete.
  • It’s been vetted. Many people have used cart sorts over the years. It is a vetted process so, whether you are new or an expert, you have nothing to worry about. There are plenty of resources on how to make one and it is proven to be useful.
  • It gets you close to your users. You can learn about how your users think and what they would expect from a similar product so that you can structure yours accordingly.
  • It is a good foundation. It won’t be the end of your research but it definitely gives you a good jumping off point for the rest of your design process.

Cons:

  • It can be hard to understand. Labels and other elements of the card sort can be hard to understand without context. This gets especially difficult if the organizers of the card sort are trying to remain silent.
  • It can have varied results. People think differently and so results can be varied and may sometimes go in a direction you do not expect.
  • It can be time consuming to analyse. When you have to do the data analysis manually, rather than with a computer, it can be time consuming, as opposed to the setup which is relatively quick.
  • It may only be superficial. Card sorts may only cover the basics of the problem you are trying to solve, especially if the testers do not have enough context to sort the cards the way they need to.

Analysis

When analysing a cart sort, the goal is to check for trends in groups and tester rationales. You will be looking for:

  • Similarities in the comments that were made (it is best to record the comments from card sort sessions).
  • How often cards appeared together.
  • How often cards appeared in certain categories.

Sources

  • Nodder, Chris. “Finding the Information to Use in a Card Sort – UX Foundations: Information Architecture Video Tutorial: LinkedIn Learning, Formerly Lynda.com.” LinkedIn, 31 July 2013, www.linkedin.com/learning/ux-foundations-information-architecture/finding-the-information-to-use-in-a-card-sort?u=41910388.
  • Pandey, Saurav. Card Sorting - What, How & the Perks. 31 May 2020, uxdesign.cc/card-sorting-what-how-the-perks-29f6cb020270.
  • Image by Patrick Perkins

Credits

“Card Sorting at FORA.tv” by Sarah B Brooks is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Main Image

WHY USE A CARD SORT

by Evan-Zane Green

Card sorting is a user research tool that allows designers to understand how users perceive the structure of a site or app. Through using card sorts, the teams that work on a project get a better understanding of how to structure their product in order for it to appeal to as many people as possible; this is the information architecture. When setting up a card sort, it is important to get as many people as possible to test it so that you can get many different opinions to compare. It may even be necessary to run the card sort multiple times. When creating the cards for a card sort, the best thing to do is to make sure that you make enough cards so that you can get a good idea of how your users think. If you have too few, the end result may be too generic. If you have too many, the analysis may be too cumbersome and the card sort itself may be too time consuming and this can frustrate the testers. In any card sort, one of the most important things is to ensure that the facilitator influences the testers as little as possible. The goal is to get their opinion, not yours.

Types of Card Sorts

Open Card Sort:

In this method, participants are given a stack of cards which they will have to group together however they choose. After all of their groups are made they will make labels for each of their groups. This method is commonly used for new or existing site (or app) structures or organizing products on a site(Pandey).

Closed Card Sort:

For this type of card sort, testers are still given a deck of cards to sort, however, the groups for the card sorts are created beforehand by the people who set up the card sort. “This method is normally used when adding new content to an existing site or gaining a second round of insights after an open card sort”(Pandey).

Remote Card Sort:

This is a card sort that is done on the testers’ devices and, as a result, does not require the testers and (or) the facilitators to be around each other. The perfect option during a pandemic, for example. This means testers can work on it at their own pace. Furthermore, the computer can evaluate the data for you so accessing the results is easier.

Card Sort Image

The Pros and Cons

As with everything, the card sort has its advantages and disadvantages so let’s take a look. This will help you decide if a card sort is right for your project.

Pros:

  • It’s low-risk. Card sorts are pretty painless for everyone involved, as it relates to both the monetary cost and how much time it would take to complete.
  • It’s been vetted. Many people have used cart sorts over the years. It is a vetted process so, whether you are new or an expert, you have nothing to worry about. There are plenty of resources on how to make one and it is proven to be useful.
  • It gets you close to your users. You can learn about how your users think and what they would expect from a similar product so that you can structure yours accordingly.
  • It is a good foundation. It won’t be the end of your research but it definitely gives you a good jumping off point for the rest of your design process.

Cons:

  • It can be hard to understand. Labels and other elements of the card sort can be hard to understand without context. This gets especially difficult if the organizers of the card sort are trying to remain silent.
  • It can have varied results. People think differently and so results can be varied and may sometimes go in a direction you do not expect.
  • It can be time consuming to analyse. When you have to do the data analysis manually, rather than with a computer, it can be time consuming, as opposed to the setup which is relatively quick.
  • It may only be superficial. Card sorts may only cover the basics of the problem you are trying to solve, especially if the testers do not have enough context to sort the cards the way they need to.

Analysis

When analysing a cart sort, the goal is to check for trends in groups and tester rationales. You will be looking for:

  • Similarities in the comments that were made (it is best to record the comments from card sort sessions).
  • How often cards appeared together.
  • How often cards appeared in certain categories.

Sources

  • Nodder, Chris. “Finding the Information to Use in a Card Sort – UX Foundations: Information Architecture Video Tutorial: LinkedIn Learning, Formerly Lynda.com.” LinkedIn, 31 July 2013, www.linkedin.com/learning/ux-foundations-information-architecture/finding-the-information-to-use-in-a-card-sort?u=41910388.
  • Pandey, Saurav. Card Sorting - What, How & the Perks. 31 May 2020, uxdesign.cc/card-sorting-what-how-the-perks-29f6cb020270.
  • Image by Patrick Perkins

Credits

“Card Sorting at FORA.tv” by Sarah B Brooks is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Main Image

WHY USE A CARD SORT

by Evan-Zane Green

Card sorting is a user research tool that allows designers to understand how users perceive the structure of a site or app. Through using card sorts, the teams that work on a project get a better understanding of how to structure their product in order for it to appeal to as many people as possible; this is the information architecture. When setting up a card sort, it is important to get as many people as possible to test it so that you can get many different opinions to compare. It may even be necessary to run the card sort multiple times. When creating the cards for a card sort, the best thing to do is to make sure that you make enough cards so that you can get a good idea of how your users think. If you have too few, the end result may be too generic. If you have too many, the analysis may be too cumbersome and the card sort itself may be too time consuming and this can frustrate the testers. In any card sort, one of the most important things is to ensure that the facilitator influences the testers as little as possible. The goal is to get their opinion, not yours.

Types of Card Sorts

Open Card Sort:

In this method, participants are given a stack of cards which they will have to group together however they choose. After all of their groups are made they will make labels for each of their groups. This method is commonly used for new or existing site (or app) structures or organizing products on a site(Pandey).

Closed Card Sort:

For this type of card sort, testers are still given a deck of cards to sort, however, the groups for the card sorts are created beforehand by the people who set up the card sort. “This method is normally used when adding new content to an existing site or gaining a second round of insights after an open card sort”(Pandey).

Remote Card Sort:

This is a card sort that is done on the testers’ devices and, as a result, does not require the testers and (or) the facilitators to be around each other. The perfect option during a pandemic, for example. This means testers can work on it at their own pace. Furthermore, the computer can evaluate the data for you so accessing the results is easier.

Prompt 1

The Pros and Cons

As with everything, the card sort has its advantages and disadvantages so let’s take a look. This will help you decide if a card sort is right for your project.

Pros:

  • It’s low-risk. Card sorts are pretty painless for everyone involved, as it relates to both the monetary cost and how much time it would take to complete.
  • It’s been vetted. Many people have used cart sorts over the years. It is a vetted process so, whether you are new or an expert, you have nothing to worry about. There are plenty of resources on how to make one and it is proven to be useful.
  • It gets you close to your users. You can learn about how your users think and what they would expect from a similar product so that you can structure yours accordingly.
  • It is a good foundation. It won’t be the end of your research but it definitely gives you a good jumping off point for the rest of your design process.

Cons:

  • It can be hard to understand. Labels and other elements of the card sort can be hard to understand without context. This gets especially difficult if the organizers of the card sort are trying to remain silent.
  • It can have varied results. People think differently and so results can be varied and may sometimes go in a direction you do not expect.
  • It can be time consuming to analyse. When you have to do the data analysis manually, rather than with a computer, it can be time consuming, as opposed to the setup which is relatively quick.
  • It may only be superficial. Card sorts may only cover the basics of the problem you are trying to solve, especially if the testers do not have enough context to sort the cards the way they need to.

Analysis

When analysing a cart sort, the goal is to check for trends in groups and tester rationales. You will be looking for:

  • Similarities in the comments that were made (it is best to record the comments from card sort sessions).
  • How often cards appeared together.
  • How often cards appeared in certain categories.

Sources

  • Nodder, Chris. “Finding the Information to Use in a Card Sort – UX Foundations: Information Architecture Video Tutorial: LinkedIn Learning, Formerly Lynda.com.” LinkedIn, 31 July 2013, www.linkedin.com/learning/ux-foundations-information-architecture/finding-the-information-to-use-in-a-card-sort?u=41910388.
  • Pandey, Saurav. Card Sorting - What, How & the Perks. 31 May 2020, uxdesign.cc/card-sorting-what-how-the-perks-29f6cb020270.
  • Image by Patrick Perkins

Credits

“Card Sorting at FORA.tv” by Sarah B Brooks is licensed under CC BY 2.0