OptimalSort vs UserZoom - How do they compare?

7 Dec 2010 - 12:39pm
5 years ago
5 replies
2303 reads

We are looking for an online card sorting tool and have recently had the opportunity to try UserZoom at my company. We found that UserZoom had many drawbacks that, given the cost, makes it less than ideal for our purposes.

We also recently learned about OptimalSort, which appears to be much more cost-efficient than UserZoom: http://www.optimalworkshop.com/optimalsort.htm

Please let me know if you have any experience with using OptimalSort and what your thoughts are on the tool. Also, if you know both products, please let me know how OptimalSort compares to UserZoom. We are interested primarily in card sorting, but also looking for more information on the entire suite of features wtih OptimalSort in order to weigh the overall benefits of the product.



7 Dec 2010 - 4:59pm

We've used OptimalSort and Websort and they are both pretty good. Haven't done card sorting in UserZoom but they are so pricey we haven't used in a while for anything.

I put short descriptions of our opinions here: http://remoteusability.com/tools/ (scroll to "card sorting")


7 Dec 2010 - 7:57pm

Hey, great to hear you're keen to try out OptimalSort! If you need a hand with setting up your first project, I'm happy to walk you through it. Email me - edwin [at] optimalworkshop [dot] com.

By the way, if you wanted to give it a whirl for free you can sign up for a free account. You should get a decent feel for the functionality without needing to upgrade.



8 Dec 2010 - 1:04pm

hi! we are big fans of OptimalSort and have used it for several years with great success. I've never used UserZoom. OptimalSort requires minimal set-up and the data it generates can be analyzed, mashed-up and reviewed in many different ways. If you have any specific questions about the tool, let me know - I'll be glad to answer!


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Lacey Kruger

Senior Information Architect

Convio, Inc.



8 Dec 2010 - 7:02pm

Thanks for everyone's comments here - I felt it appropriate to chime in and add an important distinction to avoid confusion.

In general, its difficult to compare pricing between these two tools since UserZoom is an all-in-one UX research platform that includes the ability to conduct online card sorts as one of the many products included in a license.  Pricing includes the ability to conduct Remote Usability Studies, Online Surveys, Online Card Sorts, VOC and True Intent studies via feedback tabs or intercepts.  Overall, you get a lot more that just a Online Card sorting tool that you can combine for more powerful results.  For instance, combining an Online Card Sort with our Online Survey solution.




11 Dec 2010 - 5:07pm
William Hudson

Sorry for the late reply - I've been out of the office most of the week.

I've used OptimalSort a few times and Websort.net quite a lot. These are both fairly similar, although their pricing structure is different (last time I looked, Websort was priced per project - no matter how long it took - while OptimalSort was priced per month, with no limit on the number of projects. I have not tried UserZoom as I have only been interested in card sorting.

However, if you're doing qualitative research with card sorting, you might like to consider paper sorting. I have several free Word templates to set this up (on to laser-printed cards or self-adhesive labels), plus analysis software that accepts data from the cards - either through a quick keyboard data entry process or by using a bar code scanner. The software also accepts data from both Websort.net and OptimalSort. So no matter how you have done the original sorting, you can produce consistent analyses.

Best of all, the basic version of the software - SynCaps V1 - is free. There is a paid-for version (unsurprisingly called SynCaps V2) that does a lot more, including merging related groups or items.

Full details at www.syntagm.co.uk/design/cardsortintro.shtml

Also, if you're going to the CHI conference in Vancouver next May, I am running a half-day course on card sorting where you'll be able to see some of the different approaches and try the paper sorting and analysis out for yourselves. The CHI 2011 web site doesn't have the course descriptions yet, but it's course number 31.


William Hudson Syntagm Ltd User Experience Strategist UK 01235-522859 World +44-1235-522859 US Toll Free 1-866-SYNTAGM Web www.syntagm.co.uk/design Email william.hudson@syntagm.co.uk Skype williamhudsonskype Twitter SyntagmUCD

Syntagm is a limited company registered in England and Wales (1985). Registered number: 1895345. Registered office: 10 Oxford Road, Abingdon OX14 2DS.

UX, UCD and Usability Courses in London and Vancouver www.syntagm.co.uk/design/schedule.shtml

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