Tips & Tricks

Tips On Card-Sorting To Help You Start

At the beginning of the session, brief the user on what’s about to happen. If you’re doing an online card sort, this will be a written opening statement. Give the user instructions, tell them how long the session will take, and let them know why you’re doing this study.

Be mindful of participant fatigue. If you demand too much of your users, they’ll get tired, and the quality of the results will decrease. Use a maximum of 40 cards. The optimal time for the card sorting exercise is 15 minutes.

001 - ThinkingCreated with Sketch.

Ensure all provided cards can be logically grouped. It can be very unclear for a tester if two cards both address the same topic. The more similar topics are grouped together, the easier it will be for respondents to find the right card. It’s important to be sure that each topic is clear enough for the participant to place them into predetermined groups correctly.

Illustrate your cards using images instead of text. It can greatly increase the ability to understand the meaning of the card. However, it’s important to describe and label what is on the image correctly. It will make the data analysis easier for you.

Shuffle the cards into a random order before each card sorting session. This way, each card and the information on it will be sorted each time differently.

You’ll need enough participants to detect patterns and find insights into users’ mental models. The number of participants you need depends on the format of the card sorting. Recruit at least 10-15 respondents to get the optimal information out of your card sorting exercise.

Use a questionnaire before a card sorting session to ensure that every person you hire matches your user profile. You should invest in this user segmentation before starting card sorting. It helps you filter testers that are not a good fit for you.

Card Sorting Templates

In the end, I want to show you a quick showcase of all card sorting types. You can try it out yourself, see the results, and think about how to create a similar exercise for your users.

Feel free to use it as a template, you can duplicate it and run research.

Find examples of open card sorting, closed card sorting, and hybrid card sorting. Check the example of a PDF report as well.

Want To Learn More About Card Sorting?

Check Out Our How To Page To Help You Start