What Is Tree Testing? (Plus How To Complete One)

A research technique for evaluating findability within the hierarchy of a website or app is called “tree testing.” In tree testing, the hierarchy of the website is presented to test subjects in text only, and they are asked to identify a category or page within that structure where they would expect to find a specific product or piece of content.

Tree Testing to Evaluate Information Architecture Categories

Why is tree testing important?

Tree testing is important for a few reasons, including:

Creating better websites

Application and web developers can create more useful, purposeful programs that satisfy users’ needs thanks to tree testing. The steps that users take while navigating a program can be reviewed by developers to better comprehend how users carry out tasks. They can make use of this knowledge to create websites with simple navigation that serves a purpose.

Understanding tasks

Additionally, tree testing aids developers in comprehending the hierarchy of tasks. They can format the page in a way that is efficient for the greatest number of users by learning the most popular ways that users complete various tasks on a website. Additionally, they can determine when a task requires too many steps, which makes navigation more difficult.

Troubleshooting process errors

The steps that various users take to complete a task are evaluated by developers, who can also spot any bugs in the software or website. They can use this to identify and fix coding or transactional errors. Tree testing allows developers the chance to correct these errors and then retest because it is simple to plan.

Understanding customers

Tree testing can assist developers in comprehending the elements that affect how a user interacts with a program or application. It enables them to keep track of and examine the natural thought processes involved in using a website. Additionally, it can be helpful when developing new websites for services or products. It facilitates developers’ comprehension of a wide range of clients, including those with various technical backgrounds.

Getting fast results

The fact that tree testing is quick to plan and complete while still giving researchers a huge amount of useful results is one of its greatest benefits. Tree testing is frequently also possible remotely, making it simple for developers to implement. For developers with a variety of budgets and time constraints, tree testing is a good option because it is easy to analyze and review the data.

What is tree testing?

A type of research technique called “tree testing” examines the various hierarchical structures of an app or website. When conducting a tree test, the researcher gives the participants a task to complete before asking them to complete a series of tasks using that knowledge. The purpose of tree testing is to assess the application’s design and gauge how simple it is for users to find information.

Tree testing most commonly analyzes the following:

Uses of tree testing

The primary uses of tree testing include the following:

How to run a tree test

You can run a tree test with the following steps:

1. Design the research plan

Planning your investigation is the first step because tree testing is a type of research. This entails determining the objectives of your study, who to include as participants, and the most effective way to organize data. It also entails selecting the tasks that participants can be asked to complete and the order in which they should be completed.

Giving research subjects only text instructions is a crucial part of tree testing. Tree testing typically contains no more than 10 tasks to keep track of results.

2. Create the tree structure

Make a website tree structure that contains the pages or categories of pages. Be as specific as you can, mentioning the names or categories of the goods or services. You can use the website’s title from the navigation bar. To find out more about how your research subjects navigate the various aspects of the page, you can give them this structure.

3. Make a list of tasks

Make a list of the assignments you want your study participants to complete before the test. When you ask them to complete these tasks, be as specific as you can. You might include tasks like, “You want to cancel your membership,” for instance. Tell us what steps you would take to do that. You could also say, “You want to get in touch with a business to learn more about a particular product or service. Tell us what steps you would take to accomplish that. “.

Write the correct responses to the tasks you ask participants to complete on a separate page. Although you shouldn’t give them the solutions, you can use this to gauge effectiveness and success.

4. Begin testing

You can start testing now that you have a clear idea of what you’re testing and the materials you want participants to use. Decide how many people to test and for how long after recruiting study participants. To accurately represent how a wide range of users interact with various programs, some experts advise testing at least 50 individuals with varying levels of technology use.

5. Interpret the results

After completing tree testing, collect and interpret the results. To better manage this data, some researchers use databases or testing software. Measure success rates after taking into account the specific KPIs you defined in the first step. You might check the likelihood of success and the typical time needed to complete various tasks, among other things.


What should you do during the tree test?

A website or app’s information architecture, labeling, and findability are evaluated using tree testing. By using tree testing, you can spot navigational problems early on and fix them so that your users can find the information they need quickly.

How do you write a tree test?

You don’t need to create any wireframes or content to run a tree test. There are only two things you need to prepare: the tree (hierarchical menu) and the tasks (instructions outlining what study participants should look for).

Is tree testing quantitative or qualitative?

How to write effective tasks for your tree tests
  1. set a maximum of 10 tasks.
  2. Create tests for the area of your website that needs improvement.
  3. write tasks as hypothetical ‘scenarios’ based on your typical visitors.
  4. use different language than the labels on your tree.

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