A Tree Test is used to determine whether a navigation structure fits the mental model of the target group and how it can be improved. For this validation, we invite a sample of 200-300 participants from the target group and present them with a series of use cases, e.g. "Try to find a specific product on the website". They can then solve the tasks in a sample navigation structure where we can measure the percentage of correct solutions and where participants hit dead ends. With this knowledge, the navigation structure can be optimized, increasing conversion rates and user experience.
• Do potential users find certain items on the website?
• Is the navigation structure intuitive enough?
• How can I optimize conversion, usability and overall UX of my website?
• Optimize findability of content and functions on a website before the launch
• Optimize orientation on a website
• Build the foundation for good usability, UX, interaction rate and conversions.
• The tool examines existing navigation models, either from a live website or a concept model. If no such model exists, an open card sorting might be a better alternative, as it generates a theory-free structure in a bottom-up process.
• The tool is mostly useful for rather complex web sites that need a multi-level navigation structure.
As soon as a navigation concept and the main use cases are available. You only need the concept in a text form (e.g., an Excel table). No navigation mechanic is needed.
An open card sorting.
Pure tree testing with only the navigation concept vs. tree testing with a more sophisticated click dummy, which includes a navigation solution (e.g., a navigation bar, content navigation).
You can perform a tree test on an existing website to test and improve the navigation structures. However, it is also a good idea to perform a tree test already during the creation phase of a website.
The results collected can help to better understand the user's mental model or to identify and improve problems with the structure of your website.
If test takers consistently have trouble finding certain elements, you know there are problems with your structure. It can also help you visualize which paths participants take to get to certain website information.
The recommendation is that at least 30 participants take part in the tree tests, but ideally 50.