How to Conduct Card Sorting

Codecademy Team
Learn what card sorting is and how to conduct your own in this step-by-step tutorial.

A good information architecture is crucial for a product. You want to easily find what you’re looking for and understand how to get there, right? Imagine you’re on a website shopping for a new toaster. There’s a home appliance category, and an electronics category. Which category will you check to find your new toaster?

Card sorting allows designers to organize information in a way that makes sense to users, with the help of users! In a card sorting activity, participants are asked to organize cards into groups that make the most sense to them. Card sorting is often used to improve the information architecture of a website or any platform.

After reading this article, you will thoroughly understand the importance of card sorting, its benefits, and how to conduct a card sorting session of your own!

What is Card Sorting?

A GIF of someone doing a card sorting activity in Miro. The mouse is moving cards labeled "Platforms", "Heels", "Sandals", and "Sneakers" into a group called "Shoes".

Card sorting is a user research technique that requires participants to organize cards into groups. For this to happen, researchers are required to write down keywords on either paper or digital notecards. This method is often used during the early stages of the research phase and is frequently used for designing information architecture.

A card sorting session can take place during a one-on-one interview (moderated card sorting), or can be sent out to a large number of participants to complete in their own time (unmoderated card sorting). We’ll go into further details about moderated and unmoderated card sorting later!