For companies For testers flags img flags img

Tree testing

See how you can use tree testing as a method to develop your products and services

What is tree testing?

Tree testing is a qualitative research method to improve the user experience on, for example, a website or in an app that has a tree-like structure with menu options embedded within each other. Tree testing is like reverse card sorting. In card sorting, one wants to understand how users logically sort information, while in tree testing, one tests, evaluates, and assesses the information hierarchy and structure.

Card sorting is often complemented with tree testing to validate the already identified information categories. The goal of tree testing is thus to see if users or customers find what they are looking for. The research method provides insights into users’ mental models of a product and how they naturally think when exploring it.

Why should one do tree testing?

Tree testing can give you a clear picture of what your users or customers expect from the navigation and grouping of information on, for example, a website. You can quickly identify navigation problems and then design better digital applications.

Tree testing can be done very early in a design process or when an existing design is to be redesigned. It can for example, be used to improve an online grocery store so that customers can easily change delivery time and payment method. A bus company could use tree testing in the development of an app so that travelers can quickly see when the next bus is coming.

Tree testing can help you find answers to questions such as:

  • Do the users understand how to navigate the website based on the existing structure?
  • Is the content logically grouped?
  • Can users easily and quickly find the information they are looking for?
  • If not, what is preventing them from finding the information they need?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of tree testing?

The survey method can help you evaluate how effective the navigation hierarchy is on your website or in your app. You can see how your users navigate and then organize your content in a better and more logical way. Some advantages of tree testing are that you can:

  • test the user-friendliness of navigation
  • evaluate the efficiency of navigation
  • check the language
  • gain insights into users’ mental models
  • validate design ideas before designing them.

The disadvantage of tree testing is that the method only examines a small part of the website or app’s functions. You will not get an overall understanding of how your product works. In most cases, tree testing is conducted online. This means that it is not led by a moderator and therefore you will only receive quantitative data, not qualitative data, from the test. You have no opportunity to ask your participants why they make certain choices during the testing session.

How does tree testing work?

In tree testing, participants are presented with a pure text version of the website or the structure that is to be studied. The participants then see this information architecture and answer questions about how they navigate to achieve a specific goal. This gives you insights into how your information structure works and where your users or customers get lost. The test can be conducted in a physical location or online. This is how tree testing can be carried out.

1.Formulate the purpose and goals of the survey.

2. Define and describe the tree structure of your website or app.

3. Create tasks that you want the participants to do during the test. One task could be to ask the participants to find out how to update their account on the website or app.

4. Recruit participants.

5. Perform the test. Before conducting a tree testing, it can be good to do a pilot run of the test to see if it works as expected.

6. Follow up the tree testing survey with a questionnaire survey to gather additional data on users’ attitudes towards the content.

7. Analyze the results and improve the user-friendliness of your product.

How do you find participants for tree testing?

An important part of the preparations for a tree testing is to find the right participants. The number of participants you should have depends, among other things, on the type of product you are testing, the target audience you are addressing, the confidence level you need, and the goal of the project.

FeedbackFrog can assist you with recruiting participants for a tree testing. We find and book participants that fit your desired target group and can recruit test participants based on interests, age, gender, computer skills, and language, among other factors. We take care of all the administration regarding the test participants.

    Contact us for advice

    Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

    Add a couple of Frequently Asked Questions & Answers