D Card Sorting: Designing a More Intuitive Information Structure

Por Redacción Aguayo

Discover how card sorting, a User Experience research technique, can help you create a more intuitive information structure on your website or application. Learn the steps, types, best practices, and tips here.

CAPTION: Photo by UX Indonesia on Unsplash

What is Card Sorting?

Card sorting is a powerful User Experience (UX) research technique used to design and evaluate the information structure on a website, application, or digital product. This methodology enables designers and UX professionals to understand how users organize and label content, ultimately helping to create a more intuitive and easy-to-navigate structure.

It is a process in which participants organize and categorize virtual or physical cards representing content elements such as pages, sections, or categories. The goal is to identify patterns and trends in how users group and label these elements. The results of card sorting provide valuable insights for designing the information structure.

This technique is based on cognitive psychology and categorization theory. User Experience (UX) and usability research have shown that users interact more effectively with digital products when information is organized coherently with their expectations and thought patterns.

When to Conduct Card Sorting?

Before conducting a card sorting project, it's crucial to understand when it's the right time to apply this research technique. Common scenarios include:

  • Initial Design: When you're creating a new website, application, or digital product, card sorting can help establish a solid foundation for the information structure from the beginning.
  • Redesign: If you already have a functioning platform but want to improve the information structure or make significant adjustments, card sorting can provide valuable insights for optimization.
  • Navigation Issues: If users complain about difficulties in finding information or navigating your digital product, card sorting can identify problems and guide effective solutions.
  • Ongoing Evaluation: Even after implementing changes, card sorting can be used periodically to assess the effectiveness of the information structure and make improvements.

Types of Card Sorting

There are two main types of card sorting, each with its advantages:

  1. Open Card Sorting: In this variant, participants organize cards into groups they define themselves. This allows greater flexibility and reveals user perspectives on how the information should be structured.
  2. Closed Card Sorting: In closed card sorting, participants classify cards into predefined categories. This variant is useful for evaluating an existing information structure and understanding if it aligns with user expectations.

The choice between these types depends on your goals and the level of flexibility you want to provide participants.

Steps to Conduct Effective Card Sorting

  1. Define Objectives: Before commencing a card sorting project, it's essential to define specific objectives you wish to achieve. Do you want to optimize your website's navigation? Do you aim to enhance category structures in your application? By establishing clear objectives, you will have a clear direction for your research.
  2. Select Participants: Participant selection is crucial. Seek individuals who represent your target audience. This can include real users, potential customers, or any group related to your digital product. Diverse participant selection can provide valuable insights.
  3. Create Cards: Card preparation is a significant step. Each card should represent an element of content or information on your website or application. Ensure that cards are clear and concise, avoiding duplicates or cards that are too similar.
  4. Decide the Type of Card Sorting: You must choose between two main types of card sorting: open and closed. In open card sorting, participants organize cards into groups they define themselves. In closed card sorting, participants classify cards into predefined categories. The choice between these methods depends on your objectives and the flexibility you want to provide to participants.
  5. Conduct the Session: During the card sorting session, provide participants with clear instructions for the task. Encourage them to think aloud and express their logic as they organize the cards. Observe their process and take note of any comments or questions they may have.
  6. Analyze the Results: Once card sorting sessions are completed, it's time to analyze the data. Examine how participants have grouped and labeled the cards. Look for patterns and trends in their actions and comments. You can use specialized analysis tools to streamline this process.
  7. Refine the Structure: Utilize the results of the card sorting to make adjustments and improvements to the information structure on your website or application. This may involve reorganizing categories, modifying labels, or creating subcategories. The goal is to achieve a more intuitive structure that aligns with your users' mindset.

Best Practices in Card Sorting

  • Collect Quantitative and Qualitative Data: In card sorting analysis, it's essential to combine quantitative data (such as group frequency) and qualitative data (based on participants' comments and observations) to gain a comprehensive understanding of how users perceive the information.
  • Conduct Iterative Testing: Card sorting is an iterative process. Conduct multiple sessions with different participant groups and gradually adjust the information structure. This allows you to validate and refine your findings.
  • Maintain a User-Centric Approach: The resulting information structure should be meaningful to your users, not just the design team. Ensure it reflects their expectations and mindset to achieve a more intuitive experience.
  • Communicate Changes: If significant changes are made to the information structure of an existing website or application, communicate these changes to users clearly and provide guidance as needed. Transparency is essential to avoid confusion.

Online Tools for Card Sorting

Conducting card sorting online is convenient and efficient. Some popular tools for online card sorting include:

  • Optimal Workshop: Offers a variety of features for card sorting, including open and closed card sorting. It provides detailed analysis and visualizations of the results.
  • Lyssna: Allows for card sorting and quick feedback from a broad audience. It's an excellent choice for rapid testing.
  • UserZoom GO: Provides online card sorting as well as other User Experience research tools. It's useful for more comprehensive studies.
  • D-Scout: A versatile platform that enables card sorting, along with other UX research such as prototype testing and user diaries.

These tools facilitate the organization, execution, and online analysis of card sorting, streamlining the design decision-making process.

Card Sorting: Organization and Design

Card sorting is a valuable tool for optimizing User Experience by ensuring that the information structure is logical and user-friendly. By understanding how users mentally organize content, you can design a more intuitive experience that aligns with their needs and expectations. It's an evidence-based technique that has proven effective in creating user-friendly digital interfaces.

Thinking about working on a project? Write to us, and we'll help you out.

More blog

About work, workshops, creative processes, new clients, old clients, daily life, and UX, epistemological thoughts, and critiques.


A/B/C Testing: Enhance Your User Experience

A/B/C testing, also known as split testing, is a fundamental technique in the world of user experience (UX) design and digital marketing. It enables businesses to evaluate the effectiveness of different design elements, content, and features to make data-driven decisions and enhance conversions. In this article, we'll delve deep into what A/B/C testing is, when you should conduct it, why it's essential, and how to effectively conduct these tests to optimize the user experience and increase your conversion rates.

Read entry

Types of Usability Testing: Strategies for Evaluating the User Experience

In the world of digital design and development, usability is crucial for the success of any product. Usability testing is an essential tool that allows the evaluation of how users interact with a product and how effective their experience is. In this article, we will explore various types of usability testing, highlighting effective strategies to enhance the user experience.

Read entry

Lean UX: Redefining User Experience Strategy

Explore Lean UX methodology in-depth based on the book by Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden. Discover its core principles, benefits, implementation process, and how it compares to other design methodologies. Learn when and who should use Lean UX to enhance user experience strategy.

Read entry

Scaling Your Business with Akeneo: Strategies for Growth and Efficiency

Scalability is one of the biggest challenges that growing companies face. Managing a large amount of product information, maintaining data consistency and quality, and expanding into new markets are complex tasks. This is where Akeneo, a leading Product Information Management (PIM) solution, plays a vital role. Let's see how Akeneo can be the centerpiece in your business's growth and efficiency strategy

Read entry

The Powerful Alliance of User Experience (UX) and Brand Strategy for Business Growth

In today's business landscape, User Experience (UX) and brand strategy are two essential elements for growth and success. In this article, we will delve into how these two disciplines can form a powerful alliance to propel your business forward. Through tangible examples and effective strategies, we will explore how a solid UX can be the key to building a strong brand and, ultimately, accelerating business growth.

Read entry

What is a DXP Platform like Liferay?

Discover the Power of Digital Experience Platforms (DXPs) and Their Role in Creating Exceptional Online Experiences. A DXP like Liferay provides integrated tools and services for managing, personalizing, and optimizing digital interactions for customers, employees, and other stakeholders. From content management and user segmentation to omnichannel experiences and analytics, DXPs simplify the creation and delivery of personalized content. Leading companies in various industries, such as Vodafone, Audi, and Unilever, have harnessed the potential of DXPs to manage multiple websites, ensuring consistency and delivering seamless user experiences. Explore how DXPs can transform your digital presence and elevate customer engagement to new heights.

Read entry

User Experience: Televisa optimizes its website with Aguayo

Aguayo collaborated with various departments within the Televisa Group and Univision, a media conglomerate whose largest shareholder is Televisa, on the user experience (UX) centered redesign of Las Estrellas, Televisa Espectáculos, Televisa Noticias, and Canal 5. Furthermore, Aguayo also ventured into other projects for the Mexican company, such as the microsite for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and Fusión México, both also based on UX.

Read entry

User-Centered Design: Methodologies for Solving UX Problems

In an increasingly competitive digital world, User Experience (UX) and a User-Centered Design has become a critical factor for the success of any website or application. Good UX not only attracts visitors but also keeps them engaged and satisfied. However, tackling challenges and solving UX-related problems can be a complex process. Fortunately, there are effective methodologies that can assist you in addressing and resolving these issues efficiently. In this article, we will explore some of the best methodologies for enhancing UX and optimizing your website with real-world examples.

Read entry

Data Analysis: User Behavior Patterns and Trends

In today's competitive digital world, User Experience (UX) has become a critical factor for the success of any website or application. A good UX not only attracts visitors but also keeps them engaged and satisfied. However, tackling challenges and solving UX-related problems can be a complex process. Fortunately, there are effective methodologies that can help you address and resolve these issues efficiently. In this article, we will explore some of the best methodologies to enhance UX and optimize your website with real-world examples.

Read entry

Identification of Emotions: Forge Deeper Connections with Users through Emotion-Driven UX

It's not enough for websites and applications to merely function; they must also connect with users on a profound emotional level. The field of User Experience (UX) design recognizes the significance of emotions and how they influence user behavior and decisions. This understanding has given rise to emotion-driven UX design, a methodology focused on creating digital experiences that trigger and respond to user emotions.

Read entry

User Experience Maps: Visualizing Key Interactions

In the world of User Experience (UX), where user satisfaction is paramount, having effective tools is crucial to understand and improve interactions between users and your website or application. One of the most valuable resources is the user experience map, also known as User Journey or Customer Journey. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve deep into how to create and use user experience maps to enhance an exceptional experience for your users and the success of your digital project.

Read entry
sigmund-QuusekRfTI8-unsplash (1)

Omnichannel User Experience: Navigating Between the Physical and the Digital

In the ever-evolving landscape of user experience and digital development, one concept that has gained prominence is the convergence of physical and digital worlds. This convergence, often referred to as "omnichannel," represents a significant shift in the way businesses and individuals interact with technology. Let's explore the intriguing intersection of physical and digital realms and its impact on the user experience.

Read entry

The Power of User Experience Maps: Optimizing Your Website

Navigating a website is not always a straightforward journey. Visitors can feel lost, confused, or simply frustrated. How can you understand what users experience on your site and improve their journey? The answer lies in User Experience Maps (or User Journeys). These powerful tools allow you to visualize users' journeys through your site, identify issues, and optimize every step.

Read entry
austin-distel-goFBjlQiZFU-unsplash (1)

Key Performance Metrics in Digital Development: What to Measure and Why

In the vast realm of digital development, measuring performance is paramount for success. This article delves into the key metrics that should be the focus of your attention. Discover why these metrics are essential and how they can transform your approach, from loading speed to user retention. Join us on a journey through digital analytics to empower your development strategy.

Read entry

The Role of UX Research in Digital Development

User Experience (UX) Research stands as a fundamental pillar in digital development, acting as the process that allows us to thoroughly comprehend the needs, behaviors, and expectations of users. At its core, UX research seeks to unravel the mysteries surrounding human interaction with digital products and services, providing valuable insights for design and continuous improvement.

Read entry

Eye Tracking and Neuro UX: Deciphering User Psychology

Let's explore into the fascinating realms of Eye Tracking and Neuro UX – two powerful disciplines that uniquely allow us to unravel the psychology of user interaction. From tracing the user's gaze to deciphering how their brain responds, we unlock the secrets behind digital engagement. Get ready to embark on a journey beyond the visual surface, where each click unveils an unseen narrative of preferences and behaviors.

Read entry

The Psychology of Color in Digital Design: Strategies for an Impactful Experience

Dive into theworld of color psychology in digital design, where each shade and hue has the power to influence users' emotions and perceptions. Let's explore strategies beyond aesthetics, unraveling the fundamental theories of color, its application in branding, and how it directly impacts user behavior. From readability on digital screens to cultural considerations and practical tools, discover how colors go beyond the visual, shaping impactful and meaningful digital experiences.

Read entry

Key Strategies to Improve User Experience

Improving the user experience goes beyond simple adjustments. It involves a comprehensive approach that ranges from deep user understanding to continuous impact assessment. In this guide, we'll explore key strategies that can transform the way users interact with your digital products.

Read entry

Winning Strategies in the Product Life Cycle: Lessons from the Boston Consulting Group

Explore the winning strategies that steer products towards success in every phase of their life cycle. This article unravels valuable lessons offered by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), showcasing analytical tools, strategic models, and effective tactics to navigate the diverse stages. From inception to decline, discover how to implement proven strategies that have propelled the growth of prominent businesses.

Read entry

What are the Nielsen's 10 Usability Principles?

Exploring usability principles is essential for creating effective digital experiences. In this article, we will delve into the 10 Usability Principles proposed by Nielsen Norman Group, a crucial reference in the design world. These principles provide solid foundations for the development of user-friendly interfaces.

Read entry

4 Key Aspects for Effective UX Research

Dive into the fascinating realm of user experience (UX) research with our 4 key aspects. Discover how to optimize your design processes, understand your audience, and create digital experiences that truly resonate with users.

Read entry

What is the PURE Method for Usability Evaluation of a Digital Product?

In the fast-paced world of digital design, where user experience stands as an undeniable cornerstone, usability evaluation methodologies become crucial tools. Among these, the PURE Method (Pragmatic Usability Rating by Experts) stands out, a creation of the renowned Jakob Nielsen, a pioneer in usability discipline. This pragmatic approach has revolutionized the way we evaluate the interaction between users and digital products.

Read entry
ux-indonesia-WCID2JWoxwE-unsplash (2)

'The Design of Everyday Things' by Donald Normann: Key Lessons for Sensible Design

In this article, we will explore the fundamental lessons that this influential book offers for achieving sensible design in our everyday life. From the psychology of design to the importance of visibility and feedback, immerse yourself in the keys that will transform your perspective on the world around you.

Read entry

Difference Between a Flowchart and Sitemap: Essential UX Design Guide

In the world of UX design, the visual representation of processes and structures is essential. Two key tools in this industry are Flowcharts and Sitemaps. Although they share the purpose of clarifying complexity, each has a unique focus. In this guide, we will explore the crucial differences between a Flowchart and a Sitemap, offering a detailed insight so you can choose the right tool at each stage of your design project.

Read entry

Likert Scale for UX Surveys: Optimizing Data Collection

In the realm of user experience (UX) research, the Likert scale emerges as a vital tool to capture user perceptions and attitudes. In this article, we will delve into how to implement and leverage this scale in UX surveys, maximizing data quality and providing valuable insights for the continuous improvement of products and services.

Read entry

'Jobs to be Done': How to Discover and Satisfy Customer Needs

Discover how to identify and address customer needs through the "Jobs to be Done" strategy. This innovative approach focuses on understanding what motivates customers to "hire" a specific product or service and how you can effectively meet those needs, ensuring exceptional customer experience and long-lasting competitive advantage.

Read entry

UX Prototypes

Discover how prototypes are essential in User Experience (UX) design, their importance in the creative process, and best practices for their development and evaluation.

Read entry