The Significance and Types of Card Sorting Techniques

Anuj Bisht | 28th May 2019

The standard practice for commencing UX consulting services requires in-depth research about your digital business’ target audience. The process is more commonly known as UX research. It involves understanding how users perceive your brand, discovering their needs and evaluating their expectations from your products/services. The goal of UX research is to create intuitive designs to achieve maximum user adoption.

We have discussed card sorting, an effective UX Research technique in this blog post. Learn how Card Sorting methodology can align your website’s content according to the preferences of your target audience.


What is Card Sorting?

Card sorting is a UX Research technique for organizing a site’s content. It is an essential design practice followed by a User Research Agency or team to assess a user’s response to website content.

In this technique, all the site’s important content headings are labeled on separate cards. Random users are asked to group these labels according to their own understanding and convenience. The content labels can be made on a piece of paper, an actual card, or sticky notes. Apparently, the results from a card sorting activity serve as critical inputs to build the Information Architecture essential for a user interface.


Different Types of Card Sorting Methods

There are multiple ways in which a UX consulting company can use the card sorting technique.


One to one 

This process requires only two people – a participant and an invigilator. The invigilator can be a competent team member, although a UX expert is the best choice for the activity.

It is an effective technique for small scale project or business. The one to one method can provide all required insights about the users’ preferences. The results extracted are easy to implement and can also be rectified quickly.



In contrast the one to one method, independent card sorting involves a group of participants. However, it is not mandatory to conduct this method exclusively with a face-to-face round. Participants can be connected online through social media groups to access and arrange content cards according to their understanding.

The data extracted through this technique can be huge and complex. Therefore, dedicated UX Consulting services are necessary to handle and extract meaningful information from this comprehensive card sorting technique.



In this technique, participants sit together and literally brainstorm their opinion about how the site’s content should be represented. Although the method involves the distribution of content cards to all participants, the designers choose the results randomly.

The important part here is to make sure that no one result dominates the other opinions. All participants should get a fair chance to contribute. Furthermore, it is quite difficult for a User Research Agency to conduct this card sorting method in an orderly and effective manner.


Open Card Sorting

Open card sorting is basically open to new ideas and opinions for finalizing the content alignment over the site. Under this method, participants can either choose from the already given content categories or suggest their own new category as well. They are also free to assign whatever names they want to the groups they’ve created with the cards in the stack.


Close Card Sorting

Close card sorting is the process in which participants can only choose to organize cards under the predetermined category names. It is easy to extract uniform results with this UX Research process. However, it mars the possibility to get the user’s feedback about the content structure.


Advantages of Card Sorting for UX Consulting Services

It is useful to define a well-defined structure for the site’s content and services. Moreover, a business gets deeper insights into what all items should be included on its landing page. Furthermore, the open card sorting technique lets designers consider alternate categories for better user experience. The method, therefore, is inexpensive and can be utilized by all kinds of businesses.



Card sorting is a simple and quick way of gathering data about the user’s perception of an online service. Consequently, Card sorting is beneficial for projects starting from scratch as well as for rejuvenating existing interface designs.


The UX Consultants at Oodles Studio conduct comprehensive UX Research for building intuitive web designs for your business. Talk to our UX researchers to avail our UX Consulting services for understanding the user needs and achieving your digital goals.

About Author


Anuj Bisht

I am an experienced UI/UX designer, Responsible for creating the sketch, wireframe, prototype, and visual mockups. apart from that, I like traveling and singing.

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