Card SortTree Test

How do you improve your website navigation?

3 minute read time

If you have a website then you want visitors to find the content you’ve created, right?

Not only that, you want them to find that content, benefit from it, take action and become customers.

The question is, can your audience find the content they’re looking for?

Let’s face it, the way your content is organized might make sense to you. However, does it make sense to your visitors?

The good news is that finding answers to your questions is not hard or time consuming.

On top of that, you can let your audience tell you how to organize the content in a way that makes sense to them.

Decide who your website is serving

Right now your website is organized in a particular way. It might look something like this:

An organization of a website's pages

In your mind, this makes perfect sense. You know exactly where each piece of content lives and what’s on each page.

After all, you wrote most of the content and organized the website in a way that makes sense to you. So, it’s no wonder you know exactly where everything is located.

The big question is, can your audience find the content they’re looking for? Or would they explore the content if they knew it existed!

You keep hearing from your consulting clients that they didn’t know you offered online courses. This has made you begin to wonder if you need to take a second look at your website structure and labels.

You decide to use input from your audience to inform you as to how you should organize your pages and content.

You want your website to serve them, engage with them, and eventually turn them into customers after all.

Maybe your website navigation is fine.

You think that you had done a pretty good job organizing and structuring your website as it currently stands. Maybe it’s not a problem at all!

Just to be sure your UX consultant suggests you start with a tree test to give you some data about whether your customers can find content on your website.

A tree test, as you come to learn, measures whether content can be found. So you sign up on Empathetic and start your first user study - a tree test.

With the help of your consultant, you set up the tree test exactly as your website is currently organized. You don’t change any labels. And you come up with a few tasks for them to complete.

A new tree test

You launch your study and as the results start rolling in you realize that people have a hard time finding a lot of content on your website. You don’t have that many pages! How is it so difficult?

This was a big eye opener to you. And you realize that if people actually found the courses you offer, the in-person and remote consulting, and even information about your pricing, you are likely to get more customers!

You decide to get some insights into how your audience thinks about your content - how they would organize and label it.

Your hope is that by organizing your content in a way that your customers can find it, your consultancy will grow.

Organize and re-label your content

Your UX consultant suggests you start with an open card sort. This will help you understand how your customers think about and organize your content.

After launching and running your card sort you analyze the results and come up with a new information architecture for your website.

You also reviewed the way that participants labeled the groups and revised the page names based on what they would look for when browsing your website.

It looks something like this:

A potential informaiton architecture based on data gathered from open card sort

Did you improve things?

Now that you have a revised and hopefully improved website information architecture, your UX consultant suggests that you run another tree test to see if your audience is now able to find information easier and more successfully.

You can use the results of your first tree test as a benchmark to compare against.

If your tree test comes back with mixed results, you can run another card sort focusing on the problem areas.

Once you have a clear idea of good labels for your navigation you can do a closed card sort or even a mixed card sort where the labels that performed well are included but you leave it open for your participants to write new labels and grouping of information.

Use this cycle to dial in on a successful information architecture for your website. One you know will perform well.

Why not?

You’ve put in all the work necessary to create amazing content that interests, engages, and ultimately helps your audience.

Now take the steps necessary to make sure they can find it.

It’s not hard or time consuming to improve your website navigation.

Consider signing up for a free 14 day trial and get some answers to your questions.