A free comprehensive guide for evaluating site structures
"Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe." - Abraham Lincoln
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.
In either case, our tree will need to be prepared for testing. In many cases, this is just a matter of minor housekeeping (importing the tree into a spreadsheet, excluding certain headings like “Search”, and so on), but sometimes we need to make some bigger decisions about our tree (e.g. whether to prune a large tree).
In this chapter, we’ll cover everything we need to consider when preparing a tree for testing.
Using a spreadsheet or text file, sourcing the content, using the right format
How to cut big trees down to size for testing
Global nav, footer links, utility links, etc.
Content that doesn't have a page of its own might be missed
Handling topics that appear in more than one place
Handling multi-level navigation (e.g. mega menus)
Link names represent the nav better than page titles do
In certain cases, "Home" may cause problems
Sanitizing text, importing to a tool, and randomizing subtopics