A free comprehensive guide for evaluating site structures

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If we’re working alone on a tree test, we’ll probably use a local file (e.g. an Excel spreadsheet, an OpenOffice document, etc.) to work on our tree and tasks.

In many cases, though, we’ll be collaborating with others who work on the website too. In this case, we again recommend using a multi-user online spreadsheet (such as Google Sheets or Office 365) to provide a single document that shows everyone’s latest updates.

In particular, we’ve found that creating tasks is a job that lends itself well to a “divide and conquer” method of online collaboration. There are often different people who know different parts of the website best, so if we can assign those people to create realistic tasks for their parts of the site, everything gets done faster (and everyone is more engaged in the exercise).

To do this, we create an “Assigned to” column in the spreadsheet, agree within the team on who is assigned to what, and fill in their names accordingly:


Here’s an example of how this can speed things up and get everyone engaged:

On a recent IA-redesign project for a film organization, the project sponsor wanted their whole staff to get involved. They weren’t kidding - they brought 11 people to the first workshop. We decided to take advantage of the numbers by assigning a small part of the site structure to each person. For the last half-hour of the workshop, we asked them to go back to their desks, open the shared spreadsheet in their web browser, and create a handful of tasks for their respective section.

While we worked on other project items (incentives, recruiting, etc.) with the project sponsor, we kept the spreadsheet open on the data projector in the meeting room. At the end of the meeting, we scrolled through the spreadsheet and found that everyone had finished their work and we had more than 40 task ideas ready to review. Go team!   (smile)


Next: Writing a good task


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