Linking card sorting to browsing performance – are congruent municipal websites more efficient to use?

Martin Schmettow*, Jan Sommer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
84 Downloads (Pure)


ABSTRACT: Card sorting is a method for eliciting mental models and is frequently used for creating efficient website navigation structures. The present studies set out to validate card sorting by linking browsing performance to the degree of match between the mental model and the navigation structure. First, a card sorting study was conducted (n = 27) to elicit users’ mental model of municipal websites. Second, performance was measured for a number of search tasks with varying degrees of congruence with users’ mental model (n = 50). Analysis by linear mixed-effect models suggests that the match between mental model and website structure has no effect on browsing performance. We discuss possible reasons and consequences of the failure to validate card sorting for designing navigation structures of informational websites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)452-470
Number of pages19
JournalBehaviour & information technology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2016



  • Card sorting
  • e-government
  • mental model
  • menu navigation performance
  • usability
  • websites

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