Workshop: Card Sort

July 9, 2009

The aim of a card sort is to establish consensus among people about how content should be grouped and categorised. A pile of cards with topic items represents the content of a website. People sort these cards into groups and provide a label for each newly formed category. The group-discussion reveals difficulties in establishing consensus as people’s views on topic items tend to differ considerably.

An online card-sort allows to involve a larger number of people and provides statistical confidence in the result. People do the exercise individually on the Web. The aggregated results of the card sort reveal patterns (clusters) of related items, which form the basis for a content model and the site-map.

    To consider when doing the card sort exercise:

  1. Categories should be mutually exclusive (e.g. Red, Green, Blue – Better not: Red – Soft – Blue)
  2. Categories can have subcategories (will be formed at a later stage in the process)
  3. Put easy cards first; add the difficult cards later.
  4. Avoid ‘Miscellaneous’ as a category.
  5. If you can’t find consensus for one item, the majority vote decides.
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