The Making of a Podcast App: Card Sorting

Card sorting is an exercise where users sort tasks into groups. These are tasks the user would do while using the podcast app. This is helpful in developing the structure of the app while making sure the navigation and information is intuitive and understood by the user base.

Card Sorting:

Because the initial version of my app won’t include all potential functionality, I had 20 cards for my testers to sort:

  1. Download an episode
  2. Delete an episode
  3. Follow a friend
  4. Share an episode with someone
  5. Subscribe to a podcast channel
  6. Find a new podcast
  7. Listen to a podcast episode
  8. Sign in
  9. Create an account
  10. Connect account to Facebook
  11. Auto-download episodes from a podcast channel
  12. Accept a friend request
  13. Stop following a friend
  14. Rewind an episode
  15. Fast forward an episode
  16. Skip to the previous episode
  17. Skip to the next episode
  18. View all downloaded episodes
  19. Comment on an episode
  20. Pause playing episode
  21. Change the volume

For this research I had 4 participants. Each user sorted the cards almost identically with the exception of one card. Also, all users titled the groups with similar names:

  • Login setup
  • Podcast player
  • Podcasts
  • Social

“Connect account to Facebook” was the one card that was placed in two different groups: “Login setup” and “Social”. This means users could become confused when looking for this feature once in the app. One way this might be solved in the MVP is only allowing users to create an account by connecting to Facebook. Another solution would be to offer Facebook connection at account creation and also offering it as an added feature in the user’s profile if they do not connect immediately at signup. Because this is an MVP, I’ll first talk with the development team and see what option will be easier to build. This is not a critical feature to using all the app’s core functionality. Therefore I don’t want it to get in the way of focusing on more important issues.

Thanks to the card sorting data, it is clear what will be the best way to organize the information in my podcast app.


Based on my card sorts I have come up with a sitemap and structure to the app. This is just an initial sitemap including the features I plan to release in the initial MVP. As I add more functionality in future iterations of the app, this sitemap will expand. I first created my sitemap quickly in a sketchbook. This allowed me to make quick changes while referring back to the card sorting data.

After finalizing the sitemap, I digitized it using to make it easier to share with other teammates.

Because this is an app with specific functionality, this sitemap mostly outlines the location of different functionalities users will want to access across the app.  

Based on my initial user interviews and other data collected through the card sorting, I have decided not to require users to have an account in order to access all features of the app. At first opening the app, users will be able to search for podcast channels, subscribe to them, listen to episodes, and manage their podcasts. If users wish to access any of the social features, they will have to create an account. This allows for a softer on-boarding process. This also clears up any confusion card sorting participants had about “connecting to Facebook,” as this feature will only be offered if a user decides to create an account.


Because of the card sorting exercise, I was able to finalize my app’s initial structure. Next, I will create multiple user flows to make sure the site structure is intuitive and easy to use.