Card Sorting & Cluster Analysis What is card sorting and why conduct a card sort study?


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Card Sorting & Cluster Analysis



To learn from users of the system how they group a list of content, functions or ideas and what they call those groups.

  • To learn from users of the system how they group a list of content, functions or ideas and what they call those groups.

  • To validate the organization of an existing site or application before working on a re-design.

  • To avoid designing a web site or application from the developers/organizations point of view.

  • Takes out opinion when designing a taxonomy for a site.



Card sorting is a method for discovering the latent structure in an unsorted list of statements or ideas.

  • Card sorting is a method for discovering the latent structure in an unsorted list of statements or ideas.

  • If the informants are representative of the user population for whom the application is being designed, then the result will reflect the structure in which the users expect the ideas or concepts should be presented.

  • www.UsabilityNet.org



Business requirements

  • Business requirements

  • Strategic direction

  • Technical goals and limitations

  • Existing site/application guidelines



Index cards are prepared. Each card has a single item from the list on the front and a long description on the back. Descriptions are included to clarify what each item represents.

  • Index cards are prepared. Each card has a single item from the list on the front and a long description on the back. Descriptions are included to clarify what each item represents.



Users are asked to sort the set cards into logical groups (cluster) and name each group.

  • Users are asked to sort the set cards into logical groups (cluster) and name each group.





Index cards are prepared.

  • Index cards are prepared.

  • Users are asked to sort the set cards into logical groups (clusters) and name each group.

  • Results of the individual card sorts are recorded and analysis is done.

  • Recommendations for organization of site/page/application are made.



A spreadsheet is prepared with items and descriptions.

  • A spreadsheet is prepared with items and descriptions.

  • Card Sort Study is created.

  • Users are invited via email to participate in the card sort study via the web.

  • After the card sorts are complete, view cluster tree (taxonomy) of results.

  • Individual results are exportable as .csv file and include names of groups (clusters).





































Card sorting is a way to find out how users see the information/concepts/functions we provide and can provide the basis for a site taxonomy.

  • Card sorting is a way to find out how users see the information/concepts/functions we provide and can provide the basis for a site taxonomy.

  • Tools exist to simplify the creation of a study and the analysis of the results.

  • Cards should be sorted by real users to provide meaningful results.

  • Study results are not necessarily the whole picture and don’t include things like business goals and strategic direction.



Sophie Wood

  • Sophie Wood

  • woodj3@michigan.gov

  • 517-335-7897




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