In this article, we'll walk you through the steps to create a closed card sorting task. Looking for help making an open card sort task? You'll find those steps here: Create an open card sort
In this article:
Creating a closed card sort test
Click +Create new test in the top right corner of your dashboard.
Add a new Card sort test section. Close card sort will be selected by default. You can rename this section to help keep large tests organized if desired.
Add instructions to give your task some context (optional). If you leave this blank, panelists will see our default task instructions.
Begin creating your cards for sorting. Cards can be text-only, or you can choose to add an image to some or all of them.
Add categories for your cards to be sorted into.
Fine-tune your card sort task with additional options—more on these below.
There are a few ways to create your cards:
Manually type the names for each card in your task. Press enter or return to quickly move to the next card.
Paste a list of card names from another document into the test builder—one card name per line—to quickly create cards in bulk.
You can also bulk-create cards from image files. Turn on the Images toggle, then drag in a group of image files. You can now add names to the new cards.
Adding descriptions to cards
Cards can support optional descriptions to add a bit more context for better sorting. To enable this option, switch on the descriptions toggle, then add a description for one or all of your cards:
Here's how the description looks to your participants:
And here it is with an image:
Adding categories for sorting
Categories are the names of the groups your cards will be placed into. In a closed card sort, you will need to define these categories so participants will have groups in which to organize the cards.
Like cards, categories can be typed manually or added in bulk by pasting a list of category names into the test builder, with one category name per line. Categories can also support optional descriptions to add context while sorting.
Unlike cards, categories do not support images.
Additional card sort task options
Allowing participants to sort all or only some of the cards
By default, participants will be required to move all cards into one of the available categories. Deselect the checkbox shown below if you want participants to have the option to leave some cards uncategorized.
Limit the number of cards that are shown to your participants
By default, participants will see all of the cards you have created. You can also limit participants to work with a smaller selection from your list of cards (E.g. participants may be asked to categorize only 10 of your total 50 cards).
When this option is selected, our system will track the number of times each card was shown to a participant, and we'll automatically optimize this to keep views as balanced as possible for all cards. As more participants take your test, we'll present the cards with the lowest frequency first to ensure we don't miss any cards.
Card and category randomization
By default, the order of your cards will be randomized automatically for each participant. This randomization can be disabled by unchecking the option shown below the list of cards. When unchecked, cards will be ordered as they were arranged within the test builder.
On the other hand, your categories will not be randomized by default. You can change this by selecting the checkbox shown below.
Taking a closed card sort test
When panelists begin your card sort task, they'll first be shown detailed instructions on how to complete a card sort activity. If you've added instructions to your task, they will replace the bolded text "You're about to do a card sorting exercise":
Our testing interface is responsive and supports card sorting tasks on both desktop and mobile devices. Participants will be able to successfully complete a card sorting activity no matter which device they may be using.
Here's how your task will look on a desktop:
...and here's the same test on a mobile:
Viewing your results
For details on understanding the results you received on a card sort activity, check out this helpful article on viewing your test results.
Does UsabilityHub support open card sort tasks?
Yes, we do support open card sorting. You can find info on open card sorting tasks here.
Does UsabilityHub support hybrid card sorting?
No, hybrid card sort tasks aren't available just yet. Let us know if you'd like to request this feature!
Which image file types are supported for my cards?
The file must be a JPEG, PNG, or GIF image. The maximum file size for images is 5MB.
We do not resize your uploaded images, so images with higher resolutions can affect your participants' load times. Also, participants will not be able to zoom into images for a closer look, so we recommend using images that are clear at a small scale.
Why are my images cut off on my cards?
If your image is cropped, it's because cards work best with a specific shape or aspect ratio. This ratio ensures images fit neatly in the frame—we use a standard aspect ratio of 4:3 (width: 4 units, height: 3 units) on cards. If your image isn't this exact shape, parts may not fit within the card.
Tip: You can adjust your image's shape to avoid cropping. Imagine it's like resizing to fit a frame – add some extra space to the sides so the whole image fits the 4:3 ratio.
Can I add an image to a category?
No. Categories can only contain a name and an optional description.
Are there limits to the number of cards or categories I can add to a card sort task?
Yes. The test builder can support a maximum of 100 cards and 30 categories.
In what order are the cards and/or categories displayed to participants?
Cards are randomized automatically for each participant, but you can turn this feature off when needed. Categories are not shown randomized by default but you can turn this on also.