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Most tree-testing apps provide the option of letting participants “skip” a task – that is, they can move on to the next task without providing an answer for this one. The question is, should we let them?

We recommend always letting participants skip tasks, because:

  • This more closely mimics users’ actual behavior on websites. If they can’t find what they’re looking for, they frequently give up (and go elsewhere).

  • If we force them to pick an answer, we’re likely to get a “garbage” result for that task – perhaps a semi-random answer that they pick after wandering semi-randomly around the tree. They could do this for any task, of course, but it becomes a much bigger analysis problem if they are not allowed to clearly “give up” by skipping that task.

  • Participants may not enjoy skipping a task (because it’s “giving up”), but they enjoy being forced to make a choice (what they will likely consider a weak choice) even less.

Next: Asking questions after a task


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