Card Sorting from A–Z: Part V – How to Make Recommendations Based on Findings

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 posts:

Card Sorting from A–Z: Overview
Card Sorting form A-Z: Part I – Why and When
Card Sorting from A-Z: Part II – How to Prepare for a Card Sort
Card Sorting from A–Z: Part III – How to Implement an Open Card Sort
Card Sorting from A–Z: Part IV – How to Analyze Results of an Open Card Sort


Making Recommendations


You may want to summarize your analysis for your client/department as well as provide them with your raw data.  One way to do this is to create a recommended list of categories based on your open card sort analysis, and suggest that they be tested in a closed card sort.  You may also want to provide some detail concerning each category’s performance in the card sort.  Your recommendation document may look something like this:


Library Open Card Sort Results and Recommendations


Categories Recommended for Closed Card Sort

  • About the Library

  • My Account

  • Collections

  • Online Resources

  • Events

  • Programs & Services

  • Recommended

  • Wildcard category: Guides


Data Analysis


  • The majority of users placed the “About Us”-themed items into a category titled “About the Library”.

    • ¼ of participants placed some of these items into a “Friends of the Library” category.


  • All of the participants placed the personalized items into a “My Account” or “My Library” category.


  • The overwhelming majority of Collections-themed items were placed into a “Collections” or “Special Collections” category by participants.

    • Half of the participants placed the Audiobook collection into the “Online Resources” category.


  • The majority of Online Resources items fell into the “Online Resources” category, including the RSS Feeds item.

    • Half of the participants also placed Biography Recommended Websites here as well.


  • The overwhelming majority of Event items were placed into an “Event” category.

    • One anomaly seemed surround the Teen Anime Club which was split between the “Events” category and “Programs & Services”.


  • The Programs & Services items fell mainly into the “Programs & Services” classification, with 1/3 placing the Interlibrary Loan and Ask a Librarian items elsewhere into the “Online Resources” category.



  • There was a general lack of consensus concerning features such as Suggested Authors, Hot Titles, Teen Reads, and Pathfinders.

    • Half the respondents placed them into “Guides” or “Recommended” categories while the other half remained split placing them into “Youth”, “Features”, and “Misc.” categories.

    • It is recommended to split the closed card sort – offering one with the “Recommended” category and one with the “Guides” category to determine accuracy for each.



Next: How to Implement a Closed Card Sort