How to Run a Card Sort with UserZoom


Use Card Sorts to understand how users logically group items and define categories.

This will help you define website navigation and structure your menus for efficiency.



What's a Card Sort?

Card Sort studies are a great way to find out how people organize content, such as menu items. It’s most often used to redesign a website’s navigation structure. 
Before you get started why not give a Card Sort a try from the perspective of a user.

In this type of study, you present users with a list of “cards” (item labels) on the left-hand side of the screen, and they drag them to the right in order to sort them into categories.

There are two types of Card Sort:


  • Closed Card Sort - Users sort cards into categories you've pre-defined
  • Open Card Sort - Users sort cards into categories and also name those categories

When are Card Sort tests useful?

You can use Card Sorts to learn how users expect information to be grouped and what those groups should be called. The study results help you quickly pinpoint where users agreed and disagreed on grouping:

Closed Card Sorts

  • Which menu category should items be placed in?
  • Which menu categories are ambiguous?
  • How can I reduce the number of content groupings without confusing users?
  • Where can we improve our menus and content groupings?
How a Closed Cart Sort may look

Open Card Sorts

  • How should we name our categories?
  • How many categories do we need?
  • Are users consistent in how they name and group content, or is their a difference between customer segments?
How an Open Cart Sort may look

Why use a Card Sort?

Card Sorts are quick and simple to set up. You only need the names of the items you want users to categorise and sort. These tests allow you to test your Information Architecture or Menu ideas before spending any time on visual design - saving you time and effort.

Let's Get Started

This video takes you straight to a recorded training session where you'll be walked through creating a Card Sort, or you can follow the step by setup instructions below:

Step-by-step Guide to Creating a Card Sort

Select '+ Create New Project' button in the top right-hand corner to get started

From Create New Project, Select 'Unmoderated' and then 'Card Sort'

Choose whether you'd like to test on desktop, mobile, or both


Describe the study for the Project Name (making it clear is helpful for future reference)

TIP: Use labels in order to create metatags, which can be really helpful for organisation purposes




Next, you should decide how many users you want in your Card Sort and how you'd like to source them. Whether you're recruiting yourself, or IntelliZoom is recruiting for you, we recommend testing with at least 50 participants for a Card Sort.

After you've selected your participant sourcing options, click 'Next' at the bottom of the screen, in order to move forward to Task Builder, where you can start creating your Card Sort.


If required, use the initial questionnaire section to set up any survey style questions in order to profile users eg. frequency of hotels bookings, business flights per year etc.

To set up your Card Sort Task, go to Task 1: Card Sort then go to Settings. Create a Task Title and add in the Task Description what you'd like users to do. For example “Organise these items into categories that make sense to you”

Note: Ensure you add the word Card Sort in the Task Description - it'll make finding it easier in the future.

Choose Open or Closed Categories depending on whether you are providing the Categories to users (Closed) or users can specify them (Open).

The main step when creating a Card Sort is to add in the items you'd like users to categorize using the Add Items button - you can copy and paste these items from another document if you already have them, or type them in. Each item needs to be on a separate line.

If you're creating a Closed Cart Sort, where you pre-define the categories that users group items in, then follow the same process to add your Categories. 

To help understand your results, we recommend you add a ‘Choice - Multiple Answers’ follow up question, where you list again all the items you asked users to Sort and ask: ‘Were there any items you didn’t understand or had difficulty sorting’

Your study is nearly ready! Click on 'Test Study", which allows you to preview the study from the participant's experience.  Make any study changes based on your experience, and we'd also recommend copying the Test Link and sending it to a colleague for a fresh set of eyes on it, ready to spot any typos or anything that doesn't make sense!

If you're happy with how your Card Sort is set up, it's time to launch! Just click 'Launch to Participants'. If your participants are being sourced by IntelliZoom, you should start seeing study completes within hours. If recruiting yourself, you'll need to copy the appropriate participant links and distribute to your intended audience.

Need More Help?

For expert guidance, either contact your Research Partner or use online support further help

Want to Learn More?

Check out this page to understand which design tests to use to answer the design questions you have, and to learn more about them


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