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Glossary » card sorting

card sorting

a technique for uncovering the hierarchical structure in a set of concepts by having users group items written on a set of cards, often used, for instance, to work out the organization of a website.

For a website, users would be given cards with the names of the web pages on the site and asked to group the cards into related categories. After doing so, the users may be asked to break groups again into subgroups for large sites. After gathering the groupings from several users, designers can typically spot clear organizations across many users. Statistical analysis can uncover the best groupings from the data where it’s not clear by inspection, though inconsistent groupings may be a sign of a poorly-defined goal for the website or a poor choice of web page names.