Card Sorting

Card Sorting is a method of usability optimization that makes it possible to improve the navigation on a website already during the conception phase of a website. The main goal of card sorting is a user-friendly design. The results of Card Sorting flow directly into the work of developers and web designers.


At least 15 test persons are selected for card sorting. Each of these cards contain maps on which individual menu titles or category names are written. Afterwards, each individual tester has the task of putting this menu item in an order that makes sense for them.

Alternatively, the testers can also receive blank cards, so that they can first write down their own category names or menu items, and then arrange the whole thing afterwards. The number of possible menu items can also be specified here.

Depending on the scope and size of the navigation structure, Card Sorting can be carried out in one go, or in several phases. The method can also be used for just one part of the menu, or a sub-category.

After the test group has been used to determine different navigation structures, the results are evaluated. Individual proposals are discussed and selected. With Card Sorting, which can be carried out online or on the computer, a corresponding software program can combine all individual results into one overall result.



In principle, the usability optimization procedure Card Sorting can be applied to any type of planned organizational structure. Classically, the method is used for the user-friendly design of website menus or navigation elements. In addition, Card Sorting can also help build an intranet, or contribute to a clear structure of essays and scientific papers.


Card Sorting ensures that web designers and programmers develop an understanding of how a user navigates through an area of a website. On the basis of these preliminary considerations, the structure of a homepage can be made more meaningful. It can also be clearly defined which content is placed on the start page and how individual menu items are named


The advantages of the method can be quickly listed:

  • only one expert is needed for the task in most cases
  • the implementation is not local
  • in principle, anyone can become a test subject
  • there is little preparation effort

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