A free comprehensive guide for evaluating site structures

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 "Plans are nothing; planning is everything." - Dwight D. Eisenhower


If we have a site structure to test and some tasks in mind, it’s tempting just to dive right in – set up the test, email a bunch of users, and watch the results come in. Easy, right?

However, we’ll get a lot more out of our testing if we take a step back and ask ourselves some basic questions, such as:

  • Why am I running this test? What am I specifically trying to find out?

  • What am I testing – the whole tree, or just the top levels? Or two completely different trees?

  • Who should I test – existing customers, or prospective ones too?

How we answer these questions can change how we run our test and analyze our results.


Why are we running this test?

Baselining, testing new/revised trees, comparing alternatives, etc.

How many rounds of testing?

2 rounds is standard, but even 1 round will improve our site.

Which trees will we test?

Existing tree vs. new tree(s)? The whole tree or just part of it?

Who will we test?

User groups, recruiting, and incentives

When will we test?

We can start as soon as we have a site tree roughed out

Which tool will we use?

Treejack, UserZoom, paper, and other tools

Where will we test?

Online using a browser vs. in person

Who will do what?

Working with a team vs. going solo

How will we handle problems?

Most problems can be prevented, but a safety net is always wise

Documenting our plan

Some templates to keep us on track

Key points

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