How to conduct card sorting with UserTesting

10 Best FREE Card Sorting Tools

In the following article, we will explain how you can use one UX research platform User Testing to conduct card sorting studies. We will discuss the options within User Testing, the benefits and disadvantages of User Testing Card Sorting and lastly provide you with additional options, alternatives User Testing Card Sort. 

First, can you conduct card sorting using User Testing? Yes, User Testing does offer a card sorting feature. Not familiar with card sorting? Read our card sorting guide.

UserTesting Card Sorting how to conduct

First things first, let’s talk about setting up your card sort test on UserTesting. If you’re new to this, it’s essentially a method where users organize cards into categories that make the most sense to them. This helps in structuring your website or app’s information architecture based on actual user preferences.

Initiate Your Test Creation:

  • Log in to UserTesting and start by creating a new test. It’s as simple as clicking on Create test 
  • Choose Website as your test type. This sets the stage for your card sorting activity.

Define Your Audience:

  • based on demographics, behaviors, or specific criteria that match your user base.
  • Use screener questions to narrow down participants who fit your precise requirements. This ensures you’re getting feedback from the right people.

Set Up Starting Instructions:

  • Input the URL where participants will begin. If there’s no specific page, choose the A blank page option.
  • Provide a scenario or context to guide participants through the task. Clear instructions are crucial for obtaining useful insights.

Crafting the Card Sorting Task:

  • Decide on the type of card sort you need: Closed (predefined categories), Open (user-defined categories), or Hybrid (a mix of both).
  • Enter your card options and, if applicable, your category labels. Don’t forget to hit Enter to save each entry.
  • For a bit of randomness, check the boxes to shuffle cards and/or categories. This can help reveal unbiased user preferences.

Adding Detailed Instructions:

  • Use the instruction text box to add any additional guidelines. This could be anything from specific tasks to general advice.

Attracting the Right Participants

Now that your test is ready, it’s time to recruit participants. Here’s how to get the right people on board:

    1. Leverage UserTesting’s Panel:
      • UserTesting’s panel is a goldmine. It automatically matches your test with participants who fit your criteria. Just sit back and watch as they roll in.
    2. Custom Invitations:
      • Have specific people in mind? Send them direct invitations. This could be current users, stakeholders, or even friends and family who match your audience profile.
      • Spread the word on social media, forums, and professional networks. Platforms like LinkedIn and specialized forums can help you reach your target demographic.
    3. Incentives Work Wonders:
      • Offering incentives like gift cards or monetary compensation can significantly boost participation rates.
      • Make it clear what participants will gain, whether it’s contributing to a product they love or earning a reward for their time

User Testing Card Sorting how to analyze the results


The Metrics tab on UserTesting is your primary hub for card sort results. Here’s what you can expect:

  1. Highlight Reel:
    • Watch clips of participants completing the task. This gives you a firsthand look at their thought processes.
  2. Overview Tab:
    • View card and category labels.
    • See how participants matched cards to categories, sortable by percentage or total count.
    • For open and hybrid sorts, you can merge similar categories to streamline the results.
  3. Individual Responses Tab:
    • Watch video clips of each participant.
    • Summarize how each person sorted the cards, providing detailed insights into individual approaches.

If you’ve used UserTesting’s dedicated card sorting tool (, reviewing your results gets even more detailed:

  • Participant Filtering
  • Raw Numbers
  • Percentage Table
  • Grouped Percentages
  • Distance Matrix
  • Multidimensional Scaling (MDS)
  • Dendrogram