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Card Sorting

What is card sorting?

Card sorting is a method that is used in user experience design to determine how concepts for a project should be organized. Card sorting has various methods, such as open card sorting, closed card sorting and online vs. offline card sorting. The goal of card sorting is to help the user experience professional know how to best organize a website or software application so that the structure of information will be logical for the largest number of users.

What does card sorting involve?

Open card sorting involves asking the users to come up with category names for each card, whereas closed card sorting has predefined names for each category. Card sorting can also be performed online or offline. With online card sorting this requires software that will be able to not only gather the data from the card sorting session, but also to interpret the data for optimum navigation or organization.

How to perform a card sorting test

In the card sorting process, a participant is given a number of cards or sticky notes, each containing a different word. The test participant is then asked to organize these as he sees best. The results are recorded and the card sorting process is repeated with numerous test participants. The usability expert can then pass this information on to the designers of the website or software application. This information can then be used in the creation of navigation elements or the structuring of information.

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