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March 19, 2024

Card Sorting

March 19, 2024
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Card Sorting is a user research technique that involves organizing and categorizing information or items into groups. It is commonly used in the field of information architecture to assist in the design and organization of websites, applications, and other digital interfaces. This technique provides valuable insights into how users perceive and categorize information, allowing designers to create more intuitive and user-friendly systems.


Card Sorting involves the use of physical or virtual cards, each representing a piece of information or item. Participants are asked to sort these cards into groups that make sense to them, based on their own understanding and mental models. The process typically involves organizing the cards into categories and may also involve labeling each category.

The goal of Card Sorting is to understand how users group and organize information. This helps designers gain insights into users’ mental models and thought processes, which in turn informs the design of navigation structures, menu systems, and content organization. By understanding how users naturally categorize information, designers can create more intuitive interfaces that align with users’ expectations.


There are several benefits to using Card Sorting as a research technique in information architecture and design:

  1. User-Centric Approach: Card Sorting provides a user-centric approach to information design. By involving users directly in the sorting process, designers can gain valuable insights into users’ mental models, preferences, and expectations.
  2. Improved Navigation: Card Sorting allows designers to identify the most logical and intuitive ways to organize and structure information. This helps in creating navigation menus and systems that are easy to understand and navigate, reducing cognitive load and frustration for users.
  3. Enhances Information Findability: Through Card Sorting, designers can uncover patterns in how users group and categorize information. This knowledge can be leveraged to improve information findability, making it easier for users to locate the content they need efficiently.
  4. Cost-Efficient Method: Card Sorting is a cost-efficient research technique, as it requires minimal resources and can be conducted remotely or in-person. It enables designers to gather valuable insights in a relatively short amount of time and with a reasonable budget.


Card Sorting can be applied in various domains and contexts, including:

  1. Website Design: Card Sorting is commonly used in website design to create intuitive navigation menus and information architecture. It helps designers understand how users expect content to be organized and labeled, ensuring an optimal user experience.
  2. Application Design: Card Sorting can be employed in the design of applications, mobile or otherwise, to optimize the information hierarchy and menu structures. This ensures that users can easily find the features and functionalities they need.
  3. Content Organization: Card Sorting aids in organizing and categorizing content such as articles, blog posts, or product listings. It helps designers create logical groupings that enable users to navigate and explore content effectively.
  4. E-commerce Platforms: Card Sorting can be used to improve the categorization and navigation of products on e-commerce platforms. By understanding how users naturally group products, designers can create a more intuitive shopping experience.


Card Sorting is a valuable user research technique for understanding how users categorize and organize information. By involving users directly in the sorting process, designers can gain insights into users’ mental models and expectations, enabling them to create more intuitive and user-friendly digital interfaces. With its user-centric approach, Card Sorting helps optimize navigation, improve information findability, and enhance overall user experience in domains such as web design, application development, and content organization.

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