What is it?

Tree Testing helps UX researchers and designers understand how users navigate their web and app layouts by introducing the user to simple text versions of a site without any design. By exposing and evaluating the text and hierarchy without visual aid, usability of the content structure is tested apart from other factors or distractions.

When to use Tree Testing

  • Early prototyping
  • Web redesigns
  • Concept testing
  • Copy grouping and labeling

How do I conduct a Tree Test?

We recommend using Lookback in conjunction with a tool that enables “deep-nesting” for building text-based content hierarchy.

There are a few ways to build your content:
1. Online word processors that allow nesting and interaction of headings and content, to expand out to display sub-content. Check out our help page for some suggestions.
2. Make a clickable prototype in your favorite design tool.

Here are some fun color block examples to show how a navigation hierarchy might look. Though, as mentioned previously, Tree Testing is typically text-based to avoid visual assistance.

Once you have the hierarchy to be tested, create a Project in Lookback and link to the URL that contains the nest.

Decide whether you conduct your research as a moderated or unmoderated session. Be sure to ask your Participants to talk through their thoughts as they complete the test. Observing touch or clicks and their facial expressions won’t provide as much insight as them “thinking out loud.” It’s capturing the what and why here, gang!

Moderated (Live): Speak to your participant face-to-face (remotely or in-person) about what you would like them to find or complete.
Unmoderated (Self-Test): Provide written instructions for the items you would like them to find or complete.

Example scenarios

  • If you needed to contact our support team, where would you start?
  • On which page would you find our Services Agreement?
  • If you’d like to apply for a position on our team at our HQ, where might you look?
  • If you were to look for case studies of our services offering, which navigation section you expect those to be under?

Evaluating your results

Questions to consider

  • Could your participant find the items you asked easily and directly?
  • Was it obvious to them where those items were located?
  • Did they have to go back to previous pages to find those items?
  • Were the header topics easy for them to understand?
  • If the participant couldn’t complete the tasks, what was confusing to them?

We would love to know how you do Tree Tests with Lookback. Feel free to reach out to us at uxresearch@lookback.io with any questions, feedback, tips and ideas.

And as always, Happy Researching! 🤓🎉