Card Sorting from A–Z: Part I – Why and When

This is part of a series of posts which is based on a 3-hour hands-on workshop I offer on this topic. Be sure and check out the preceding post:

Card Sorting from A–Z: Overview


Why Do a Card Sort?

Have you ever found yourself on a website for several minutes, looking for what you thought was a very simple piece of information, but you couldn’t find it anywhere?  Did you click away in frustration?  This exact scenerio may be happening on your own website, however, through card sorting, you can find out how your website users organize information and prevent this from continuing.

Advantages of Card Sorting 

  • Cheap
  • Easy
  • Fast
  • Proven by over 10 years of use
  • Provides insight into how your website users label and categorize your information
  • Engages users in the information design process
  • Increases user enthusiasm & demonstrates the website is designed with user needs in mind
  • Increases information findabilty
  • Great for gaining buy-in from users and staff

Disadvantages of Card Sorting

  • Analysis can be difficult and time consuming
  • Results may be too varied

When is a Card Sort Helpful?

  • Before deciding the organizational structure of a new website
  • During a website redesign
  • When adding a new section to an existing website
  • When designing a new Database
  • When organizing any Collection of items


Next: Hot to Prepare for a Card Sort