A free comprehensive guide for evaluating site structures
"A place for everything, and everything in its place" - Charles A. Goodrich
Tree testing starts with…of course…a tree.
By “tree”, we mean the hierarchical structure of our website or information space, represented as a multi-level list of headings:
We may be testing an existing tree (e.g. the structure of our existing site) or trying out some new trees (revised, or completely rethought) to see how well they work.
While a full discussion of how to create site trees is beyond the scope of this guide, we’ll cover the basics and provide links to other good resources.
Knowing our users, content, and what needs fixing is crucial
By audience, activity, topic, department, brand, etc.
Trying permutations of level-1 and level-2 headings
Wider, shallower trees usually work best (but have their own problems)
Speaking the user's language, keeping headings clear and distinguishable, etc.
Involving the team nets us more (and different) ideas
Jotting down just enough to triage
Triaging ideas, fleshing out candidates, checking coverage
Testing specific alternatives using specific tasks
Where to find more tips on creating site structures