Tree Testing

Spot and fix information architecture problems quickly and cheaply — before you design or code. Boost revenue and cut support costs through better findability. Settle navigation debates with data.

Featured Story:

How tree testing improved product findability by 85%


Sales reps at an industrial machinery company were wasting time on calls from customers unable to find products online.


We ran a tree test with 64 customers and 8 findability tasks. After overhauling the navigation, we tested it with 60 other users.


The site’s findability score improved from 4.0 to 7.4 out of 10 — an 85% lift. This helped drive a similar increase in online revenue.

How 3 rounds of tree testing helped achieve a 10X redesign ROI

  • A top maker of wine cooling equipment was redesigning its site, and wanted to quickly test a new IA generated from a card sort study. 
  • We recruited 68 users and conducted 3 rounds of tree testing, iterating the IA after each round. 
  • A more intuitive navigation helped the company achieve a 47% increase in annual revenue, and a 10X ROI on their redesign.

Settling IA debates with an A/B/C tree test … and 900 users

  • A major auto site was launching a new microsite. After a card sort generated 3 possible IAs, the marketing and design teams disagreed over which was best. 
  • We ran an A/B/C tree test with 540 users, 180 per design. We then picked the top 2 IAs, made some tweaks to each, and ran a follow-up A/B tree test.
  • With clear quantitative evidence to rely on, the teams reached quick consensus on a final IA. 4 years later, that IA remains unchanged.

How Smithsonian caught navigation issues while they were easy to fix

  • As the world’s largest museum and research complex, the Smithsonian faces a daunting findability challenge with any website it launches. 
  • For a relaunch of its Global site, we ran a qualitative tree test with 10 users. Vague category names caused users to fail or struggle during many of the 9 tasks. 
  • Yet by testing early in the process, the team had time to create a more descriptive, intuitive set of navigation labels before launch.

Our Tree Test Study Process

A typical tree test study runs through at least 1 cycle of these phases. We collaborate with your team throughout the process.


We reach quick alignment on your KPIs, project goals, and users.


We send you a report that captures all findings, IA solution ideas and research recordings.


We facilitate a 1-day collaborative analysis and solution generation workshop with your team, on site.


We conduct a rigorous recruiting and screening process to find representative users.


We run qualitative and quantitative tree test sessions with users.