A free comprehensive guide for evaluating site structures

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Once the tree test is set up in an online tool, the first way to “test the test” is to try it using ourselves as participants.

How we do this depends on the tool we’re using:

  • Some tools provide a preview mode where the person setting up the test can see try it out as if they were a participant. The difference is that no results are saved in this preview mode.

  • If the tool doesn’t offer a way to preview the test, we may need to launch it as a real study, then try it ourselves before sending it to our real audience.
    If we find things that need revising, the tool should give us a way to make our fixes, either by editing the current test or by duplicating it and editing the new copy.

Despite how carefully we enter the tree and tasks and the other setup options, it’s not until we try the test as a participant that we see it all in the right order and in the right context, and almost always we’ll instantly see things that aren’t quite right.

  • Maybe the tree has a few glitches because of missing indents.

  • Maybe one of the tasks now strikes us as ambiguous.

  • Maybe there’s a typo in the thank-you message.

In any case, it’s time well spent to find it now rather than later.


Next: Running a pilot test


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