Card sorting has been one of the key techniques to define the informational hierarchy of an application. As Jacon Nielson mentions "Card sorting is a generative method: we don't yet have a design, and our goal is to find out how people think about certain issues. There is great variability in different people's mental models and in the vocabulary they use to describe the same concepts. We must collect data from a fair number of users before we can achieve a stable picture of the users' preferred structure and determine how to accommodate differences among users."
Can this be extended to defining the visual design? We do not have the style specifications yet and different users relate or interpret various visual elements differently. Interpretation of color, form, fonts, layout are based on the individual's past experiences, cultural, socio-economic background and various other such factors.
Card sorting can be used to define visual hierarchy and the style of the application. It can be done with end users or within the design team or involving various teams, clients or all of them.
Keep reading this blog to get to know how to conduct a card sort for visual design