Trello for Modified-Delphi Card Sorts

Trello is an awesome app for organizing and collaborating.  However, it’s also a great tool in your UX kit for doing Modified-Delphi card sorts.

Modified-Delphi card sorting is a technique where the first participant does a full card sort of organizing and arranging items. The next participant iterates on the first participant’s sort, then the third participant iterates on the second’s, and so on. The idea is that with each iteration the sort gets more refined with fewer participants and consensus is built sooner. Learn more about the Modified-Delphi card sorting method (PDF slide deck).

Using Trello for this type of card sorting is beneficial because it’s an easy tool for participants to use – so they can focus more on the actual sort.  In addition, you can copy, save, and share each iteration digitally.

To set up Trello for a Modified-Delphi card sort, create a new organization. Then create your first board. In this case I’ve created “Participant #1.” (I’ll explain why I’ve labeled it this way later.)

In the “Participant 1” board, set up all the cards in a list called “Unfiled.”

Trello board set up for a Modified-Delphi card sort with a list called Unfiled and all the cards under that list

Have the participants create lists, label them, and move cards to the lists until they see fit.

An in-progress card sort by the first participant in Trello

When they’re done, copy the board by going to the sidebar, selecting Menu, then Copy board….  Name this copied board “Participant #2” – make sure you keep it in the same organization and check the box to keep the cards.  This creates a duplicate version of the first iteration that the second participant can then modify.  Repeat this as needed for your participants.

Creating a new board for card sorting by duplicating this one

Keep in mind, this isn’t a good tool for traditional card sorts because you can’t compile data easily.  This and Modified-Delphi card sorts are great if you have a limited budget, short on time, and only have a few resources.

Pro Tip: You can do this remotely by inviting people to your Trello board and Trello has an easy signup process.

Get started with Trello:

Cost: free

Let us know if you’ve tried it, how it’s worked out, or if you have other tips or know of other ways to do Modified-Delphi card sorts.


Gamestorming Book Cover


Gamestorming is a book that every UXer should have in their UX toolkit. Written by Dave Gray, Sunni Brown, and James Macanufo, this book walks you through the core skills of brainstorming and provides over 80 games that foster ideation, collaboration, and communication among teams.

What’s really nice is this book is a quick weekend read so you can put things into action when you get to the office on Monday.  This book is great for those new to facilitating group sessions, but also seasoned facilitators who are looking for new ways to mix things up.  For each game they define the object of play, number of participants, length of the activity, rules for playing, and the strategy behind the game.

Aside from being a practical guide, Gamestorming goes into the philosophy of game design itself, which is a great way of understanding the process of arriving at solutions to challenges.  Not only is understanding this approach helpful in developing games, but it’s great for tackling challenges in life, too.

The authors also go into how anyone can draw using just 12 glyphs, which seems almost too simple.  But if you try it, you’ll see they’re right.

There is also a companion website called, where anyone can read about games submitted by other users or submit your own to share.

Published by O’Reilly and available on, list price: $29.99.

Favorite Ipsums

If you haven’t already come across it, lorem ipsum is placeholder text that UX designers use in wireframes and prototypes when real content is not available. It fills content areas so you can get an idea for how much text can fit in a space and how it may look.

There are appropriate times for using lorem ipsum and times when you want to be cautious. Use it when the audiences are you and your teammates. They will most likely understand that it’s placeholder text and can ignore that it’s not real content. Be cautious when showing clients or stakeholders wireframes or prototypes though. They are often too distracted by it to pay attention to what you’re actually trying to communicate to them. They may ask you what it means or if it will appear in their real site or product. You’ll waste time explaining what it is and why you’re using it, so it’s best if you avoid showing it all all. Placeholder content also has a tendency to set false expectations. For example, if you use a paragraph of placeholder content, when the final page will have a list of bullets, the client might be confused with what happened because what they saw before wasn’t the same. Use real content as much as possible so you can keep their focus on the concepts you’re trying to communicate and so real expectations can be set.

Now that you’ve been properly warned, use it with caution; and hey, why not have some fun with it? Here are some of our favorites:

There are lots of ipsum generators out there. What’s your favorite? Do you have any funny reactions from clients or stakeholders?