Reverse Card Sorting

Reverse Card Sorting, also known as Card-Based Classification Evaluation (CBCE), is a user-centered design technique used to evaluate the information architecture or categorization of a website, application, or system. It is a variation of the Card Sorting method, which helps designers create or improve the organization of content and navigation structure based on how users perceive the content.

Purpose: The main purpose of Reverse Card Sorting is to assess the effectiveness and usability of an existing information architecture or categorization scheme. It helps identify potential issues, such as confusion or difficulty in finding specific content, and provides insights for improvement.

Role: Reverse Card Sorting plays a role in evaluating and refining the information architecture of a website, application, or system to ensure that users can easily find the information they need.

Components: The key components of Reverse Card Sorting include:

  • Categories: The existing categories within the information architecture that users will be evaluating.
  • Content items or tasks: The content items or tasks that users need to associate with the appropriate categories.
  • Participants: A group of users who represent the target audience for the website, application, or system.
  • Analysis: The process of analyzing the collected data to identify patterns, issues, and areas for improvement.

Importance: Reverse Card Sorting is important because it helps designers understand how well users can navigate and locate information within the existing information architecture. This understanding can lead to improvements that enhance the overall user experience and usability.


  • User-centered evaluation: Reverse Card Sorting provides valuable insights into how users perceive and interact with the existing information architecture.
  • Identifies areas for improvement: By highlighting potential issues and areas of confusion, designers can make targeted improvements to the information architecture.
  • Cost-effective: Reverse Card Sorting is a relatively low-cost method for evaluating the usability of a website, application, or system's information architecture.


  • Provides user insights: Reverse Card Sorting helps designers understand how users perceive the organization of content, which can lead to more user-friendly designs.
  • Identifies potential issues: This method can uncover problems in the existing information architecture, enabling designers to make improvements.


  • Subjectivity: The results of Reverse Card Sorting can be subjective, as they are based on individual users' perceptions and interpretations of the content.
  • Limited scope: Reverse Card Sorting focuses on the information architecture and categorization, but it may not address other usability or design issues.

Example: A company wants to evaluate the effectiveness of their e-commerce website's product categorization. They conduct a Reverse Card Sorting exercise, asking users to associate specific products with the existing categories. The results reveal that users have difficulty finding certain products due to unclear or overlapping categories. Based on this feedback, the company can refine the categorization to improve the website's usability and user experience.

See Also