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Let’s take a step back now and look at how we can fit card sorting and tree testing into our overall design process.

 

The recommended approach

If we have been given a reasonable amount of time to create a site tree, we do the following:


 

There are several advantages to this “full-fat” approach:

  • Card sorting generates ideas for our new tree – ideas that come from actual users, not just the project team.

  • Baseline tree testing shows us what needs fixing (and what doesn’t), and gives us a score to measure against later.

  • Two rounds of testing for the new trees lets us experiment, refine, and raise our chances of creating an optimal design.


The hurry-up approach

All of us have worked on a project where we were not given that “reasonable” amount of time to do what was needed. Sometimes we have to cut corners.

Because we loath the idea of creating a site tree without some form of validation, we still run tree tests, but we abbreviate the process, using a single round that combines before and after:

 

 


Next: Comparing to other IA methods

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