Card Sorting for Better Web Design


How do I organise the content on my website? Do I really need all this content? How do I decide what content should be included?

These are some of the many questions that will come to your mind when you decide to make a new website or revamp your old one.

In this modern age of the Internet, it is imperative that any business has an active website. The more user-friendly it is, the more people visit. While it is very important that your website has just the right amount of content, it is also equally important to make sure that this content is properly arranged and segregated. This is done so that anyone can navigate through the pages easily.

One of the best ways to come up with a proper structure is called the ‘card sorting technique’.

What is ‘Card Sorting’’?


card sorting process

Card Sorting — UX Knowledge Base Sketch


It is the method used to help to design or evaluate the information architecture of a site.

Information Architecture is the structural design of information in any given data. It is the art and science of organizing and labelling websites, online communities etc. The IA of any website should be developed keeping in mind that the user has no prior knowledge or experience with the information they are given. Therefore, the content must be direct and simple. The users should find it easy to navigate within the website.

The process:

In card sorting sessions, you and your colleagues will be given some pieces of paper each and asked to individually write down all the topics you feel should be included in the website, one topic on each paper.

Once everyone is done, you will be asked to collectively group them in a way that makes logical sense.

Depending on the types of cards sorted into one category, you can also name the groups accordingly. These will be the categories and subcategories of your website.

They are then ordered based on priority which will become the initial layout of the webpage.

Once this basic structure is formed, it will be easy to add or eliminate topics accordingly.

Why Card Sorting?

The secret to creating a successful website is to make it is as easy as possible for the visitor to find what they are looking for. Understanding what the business is, and figuring out how to organise the content even before designing goes a long way in making the website simple.

With the help of card sorting, you are building and improving the navigation system by observing how real people would navigate through given content, and so it becomes easy to figure out what is important. Essentially, it helps you to build the overall structure of your website.

There are two types of Card Sorting

Open and Closed Card Sorting

Open card sorting is when participants organise content into different sections and then name the categories. Closed card sorting is when participants organize content into predetermined categories.

Both are effective depending on how you choose to develop your website. Sometimes, a combination of both is also done.

In the end, what matters is that you get a picture on how your website should be. You need to be careful in interpreting your results and not be reluctant about doing it again if you are not satisfied. Remember, it is not a complete solution. It is only a rough idea. You will have to put much more time and thought to zero in on the exact contents.

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