Tree testing is a UX research method that assesses the effectiveness of a digital product's information architecture. It checks how easy it is for the user to find information and aims to discover any potential issues or places that cause confusion.
When UX researchers conduct tree testing, they show participants a simplified version of the digital product's information architecture that tends to look like a tree (hence the name). They asked them to perform specific tasks with the tree as a guide. While participants complete the tasks, researchers note what caused difficulties and confusion and pass it on to the design team to ensure that the final product's information architecture meets its purpose.
Tree testing is a valuable tool in making a successful website or app information architecture. It enables finding possible issues with the content composition and labels early in the design process, later making the navigation and locating information more manageable for the user. It makes it cost and time effective as there are no more significant changes in information architecture during the development.
Improving information architecture enhances the usability and accessibility of the product. A digital product that's functional, accessible, and easy to navigate meets the user's needs and goals and makes it more successful in the market.
Effective tree testing starts with establishing precise goals and objectives and communicating them to the participants in a way they understand. Your participants' group should be diverse and representative of your target audience. At the same time, the task should reflect the one users would do on your digital product. Keep it realistic to get valid results.
What prevents successful tree testing? Firstly, relying on small sample sizes as the results you get can be inaccurate. You also shouldn't draw definite conclusions about your users based on the tree testing's findings. Remember to use other UX research methods to gain a comprehensive view and validation of your product's usability.
Tree testing is one of many UX research methods. It's a useful way of checking your product's information architecture, ensuring that your final product is easy-to-navigate, and that the content organisation doesn't confuse your users.