Card sorting is a type of user research activity that provides insights into the mental models of your users. It can vastly improve a site’s architecture and shape decisions by understanding how users categorise topics in ways that make sense to them.
Running a card sort involves creating a set of cards that your testers will then be asked to group together in a way that makes the most sense to them.
You can run two types of card sorting testing:
Open card sorting – where testers name the categories for the cards they sort themselves.
Closed card sorting – where categories are already decided, with users only needing to sort the cards they’re given.
For sites that already have an established information hierarchy, closed card sorting would be a better option to evaluate what you already have. If you’re at an earlier stage in the process or are open to changing your site, open card sorting could uncover ideas you might not have previously considered.
To ensure you’re labelling content in an easy to understand way
When you want to understand how users expect information to be grouped
If you want to define a clear site architecture
When you’re deciding what content to put on a page
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