This feature is available for open card sorts on an active subscription

Running a moderated OptimalSort study can help you collect qualitative data to go with your quantified results. Running a moderated card sort with 5 to 15 participants can give you some really useful insights, and will complement the results you get from surveying people online.

Step 1: Download and print your cards

Set up your OptimalSort study as if you were just going to run a remote card sort. You can then download a PDF of your cards from the Cards tab.


We provide an A4 formatted PDF document designed to be printed onto perforated business card paper for easy separation. Or you could print onto plain paper or card and cut along the dotted lines. Each card contains the card label in the top centre, and the barcode and card number on the bottom right.

You could also create your own cards. Simply write the card names onto pieces of card, and write the order on the back of the cards (1, 2, 3, for example). If you create your own cards, you'll need to manually upload them rather than scanning the barcodes.

Step 2: Get your participants to sort the cards

To find out more about how to set up the room and what to say to participants in a moderated card sort, check out Donna Spencer's Definitive Guide to Card Sorting and read the content under the heading 'Execution'.

Step 3: Scan or type your results into OptimalSort

On the Participants tab of your Results page, click 'Add a moderated card sort participant'. Add the participant identifier (if you asked for one), and use the 'Comments' text box to add your notes or the answers to any pre- and post-study questions you asked participants.

Click 'Create new group' to start entering in the groups your participant created. Write the group name into the text box. Then to add cards to the group, you can either type the card number into the text box and press enter, or use the barcode scanner. If you created your own cards, you can just enter the card order number (which is the same as the barcode number).

How to use the barcode scanner

You can either buy a simple barcode scanner from Amazon that connects to your computer via USB, or visit your mobile device’s app store to turn your phone into a scanner. Once you've connected the scanner, you can click on the 'Card number' text box and scan the cards in. They'll upload automatically.

When you've finished uploading all the cards in that group, click 'Create group.' This will save the group, and allow you to create a new group.

When you're finished entering the data for the participant, close the 'Create group' menu and either click 'Save and continue' to add another participant, or 'Save and return to results' if you've finished uploading your moderated participant data.

Did this answer your question?