A free comprehensive guide for evaluating site structures
We mentioned four basic IA elements above – organization, labeling, navigation, and search. These are taken from the classic "polar-bear book" - Information Architecture For the Web and Beyond (4th edition) - by Rosenfeld, Morville, and Arango.
In general, we tend to deal with the first two (organization and labeling) as foundations before addressing the second two (navigation and search) which segue into UI design.
Because tree testing is only concerned with the first two elements (organization and labeling), it makes sense that tree testing should be done early in the design process, not so much later.
To get more specific, tree testing typically happens at two points early in the design of a website:
- During the research phase, before new site structures are even conceived.
- Early in the design phase, when our research has suggested ways to structure the site, and we have started creating site trees to exercise those ideas.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these phases and see exactly where tree testing fits in...
Next: The research phase