Card Sorting in 3 Steps

1. Content Inventory

Determine what pieces of content need to be sorted. Before any card sorting activity, you’ll need an inventory of your current website content. For more information about content inventories, we recommend “The Content Inventory is Your Friend” by Kristina Halvorson. Essentially, a content inventory is a spreadsheet that captures all of the content you have out there on the web. Once you’ve inventoried it, you’ll know what you’re working with.

2. Sort Some Cards

Using your content inventory as a guide, create a card for each piece of your web content. A card might represent a page, a block of text, or any component you want to make a decision about. Next, get your unit together to help make decisions about how the content (cards) should be organized and grouped. When people have to make a decision about each card they find ways for content to be grouped together and have conversations about what is needed and what is not.

3. Ask Questions Along the Way

Sometimes it isn’t clear what should be done with a piece of content. It may seem important to one of your audiences, or may have sentimental value for one of your card sorters. In those cases, here are some questions that can help guide decisions:

  • Who is your primary target audience?
  • What action do you want your audience to take?
  • How can you better guide visitors through your content and navigation?
Some Advice

You’ll get the most out of your card sorting when you’re able to separate yourself from your current website and consider your content with a fresh perspective. Use the guiding questions above to help you organize what you have, but also consider what new content might be needed. And feel free to let go of content that doesn’t directly serve your audience or your goals. Have your content inventory and Google Analytics available for reference, but try not to refer to them too much. The goal is to approach your content without feeling obliged to stick to current practices.