Tips for Card Sorting Tests

Last Updated: Nov 30, 2016 10:01AM PST
CARD SORTING is a unique method of testing the organization of content on a site or application. This kind of study used to be done in person, with actual index cards, but now we have online tools like OptimalSort that present you with a bunch of digital “cards.” Your job, as a tester, will be to group those cards together in whatever way makes sense to you.

Sometimes, you’ll be given a set of categories to sort the cards into, and other times, you’ll be able to name the categories yourself. Both methods help developers understand how they should organize the content on their site or app.

If you want to get a high rating on a card sorting study, do the following things:
  • Read the instructions very carefully. This is true for ALL tests, but especially card sorting, because you will probably be taken to another site to perform the card sort. If you’re not sure what you’re being asked to do, say that aloud while you’re recording, explain how you are interpreting the instructions, and carry on in whatever way you can.

  • Focus your feedback on the cards that confuse you, or are difficult to categorize. The final results of this type of study will probably shed some light on which cards don’t fit very well into categories, but they won’t explain WHY; that’s where your feedback will be most valuable. Explain what makes you hesitate as you sort the cards, whether it’s a simple issue of terminology or a genuine feeling that the card just doesn’t belong.

  • Be sure to submit your completed sort! When all the cards are set up how you want them, look for a box that says “I’m finished” or something similar. You may have to move the UserTesting task box to find this button. Don’t navigate away from the page until your work has been submitted!
seconds ago
a minute ago
minutes ago
an hour ago
hours ago
a day ago
days ago
Invalid characters found