Tree testing for effective navigation
‘I can’t find what I am looking for’ is one of the most common complains staff make about intranet content. Contributing to this issue is poor search, and poorly named or simply missing material. However, most often, the issue comes down to poor site structure and a lack of good information sign-posting.
Developing navigation to ensure the pathways and language are optimised to steer staff to the information they seek is fundamental to a successful solution. A number of familiar and well established user-centred design (UCD) techniques can be called upon to develop this navigation.
Essential UCD techniques include:
- content inventory and evaluation
- card sorting
- information architecture development
- wireframe development
- usability testing
However if the architecture itself is not tested, significant time invested in wireframe development and site build may be wasted.
Having a simple and effective method for assessing the proposed site architecture, before wireframing, allows the designer to refine and retest the site map before developing site visuals which tend to be more difficult and expensive to rework.
[October article by Stephen Byrne, read the full article]