Card-Sorting is a method to structure multiple terms. This method is particularly suitable for surveys to define topics and group questions in advance.

Groups or individuals can utilize Card-Sorting. This method should be executed target group-specific. The target group corresponds to the target group of the questionnaire. The implementation is not localized and can be executed online, for example.

There are three sorting-approaches:

  • Closed Card-Sorting,
  • Open Card-Sorting und
  • Reverse Card-Sorting.

Closed Card-Sorting: Specification of generic terms to which the cards should be assigned.

Open Card-Sorting: No specification of generic terms. The participants create generic terms on their own. There is the possibility of limiting the number of categories.

Reverse Card-Sorting: There is already an existing structure of elements. The structure of the elements gets evaluated. The Reverse Card-Sorting serves:

  • To examine how well users can navigate within the existing structure.
  • To query information that can be found in the existing structure.
  • To analyze whether the participant can find the information.


  1. Write the structure elements on cards of the same size
  2. Blend all cards
  3. Explain the procedure to the participants
  4. Hand out the blended cards and blank cards
  5. Blank cards can be filled out by the participants
  6. Optional: Execute a wording analysis [1]
  7. Assignment of the cards to the generic terms by the participants
  8. Analysis of the resulting structure (tools/manually)
  9. Detection of hidden patterns, to create intuitive structures

There are three techniques for execution:

  • One participant and one observer
  • In the group – on their own
  • In the group - together

[1] Query the understanding of the terms