Tree Testing with UserTesting

Learn about UserTesting's tree testing tool, a usability feature that can help you evaluate the findability of topics on a website.

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Tree testing is available on the following subscriptions:

Flex plan Seat-based plan
Essentials Startup
Advanced ✓ (add-on) Professional ✓ (add-on)
Ultimate Premium ✓ (add-on)


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Why run a tree test with UserTesting?

Running your tree test via UserTesting can deliver both qualitative and quantitative insights:

  • Results from a tree test help you understand how many people could find the information you wanted them to find, how many people were unable to do so, and the paths people took, going through your content before they settled on an answer.
  • You can use the results of your tree testing to make more informed decisions related to how the information on your website or app is labeled and organized. 
  • Recordings of the contributors' sessions will give you behavioral insights into those who complete your tree test and answer questions such as “Did people find any task particularly confusing?” and “Why did people enter the tree one way and not another?”
  • To learn more about tree testing—why it’s useful and when you should use it—read our What is tree testing? article. 
  • Tree testing is included with our Ultimate Edition subscriptions. For customers on our Advanced, Pro, and Premium Editions, our Information Architecture Testing package, which also includes card sorting, can be added for an additional cost. Please contact your account team for more information.

Note: Tree testing isn't optimized for mobile.



Setting up a tree test in the UserTesting platform

  • We recommend most users start with the Tree Testing template.
  • If you prefer to start from scratch, create a new, unmoderated test following the steps below.


To set up a tree test, follow these steps: 

  1. Select Create test, then Create a test
  2. When asked, "What are you testing?", choose Website.
  3. Build your audience, you'll see two options: Build audience (recruit contributors from the UserTesting Contributor Network) and Create link (generate a link to share with anyone outside of the UserTesting platform).
  4. Select your sample size.
  5. Include a starting URL (if you don't have a specific site you want contributors to start on, use A blank page option) and provide some context. 
    Note: This starting URL won't link to your tree test—that link will be added in the Test plan section—because you want to provide more context and instruction before the tree test activity.
    Provide some context in the Scenario field, such as:
    "Please note: One of the activities in this test will be conducting a tree test. This activity helps companies determine how they should structure and organize items."
  6. Build your test plan, adding a tree test at an appropriate point in your test.
    Example: Ask some background questions before having contributors complete the tree test. Determine how familiar contributors are with the tree test's topic. Don't include too many tasks before the tree test to (1) avoid biasing the contributor and (2) give the contributor enough time to complete the tasks.
  7. Set up your tree test. In the tree task itself, follow the link to the tree testing app. The link will open in a new tab where you create a new tree test and enter test details. 
  8. After entering test details, begin building your tree.


    • You can include several levels in your tree, but a maximum of 300 nodes can be included.
    • The text is limited to 100 characters for the text of each node.
    • If you want to copy a tree from a previous test, go to the Test details accordion tab for that test, and select Clone test at the bottom of the tab.
  9. Once you've set up the tree of your test, add questions that contributors are to answer about the tree.
    We recommend a maximum of 10 questions for a single tree, though there isn't a limit to the number you can ask. Remember, the more tasks someone completes using the same tree, the more the results will be biased by their familiarity with the particular tree. 
  10. Select the right answer for each question. You can have multiple correct answers to account for the fact that the same information may be available in different parts of your site or app.
  11. Publish your test. By publishing the test, you're generating a URL to distribute to test contributors. 
  12. After your test is published, you'll see a message to that effect, along with the publicly accessible link that you'll distribute.
  13. Copy your link, return to the Build test plan page, and paste it into the Tree test URL box (within the Tree test section).
  14. Include follow-up questions to get additional insights from users.

    For instance, you might ask people the following:

    • How easy or difficult did you find this tree test?
    • Which labels, if any, were easy or difficult to understand?
    • In general, how would you assess the labels in terms of finding the information you wanted? 



Results of your tree test

  • Once the contributors have completed your test, the results will be visible in the platform.
  • Watch videos of contributors completing the tree test on the Sessions tab.


To view the results of your tree test, follow these steps: 

  1. Return to the tree testing app.
  2. Select the Properties drop-down and choose My Projects.
  3. Locate the tree test project you want to analyze and select Details to review the results.
  4. Selecting the Results tab will reveal the summary of your result as well as the individual tasks. This includes correct and incorrect answers, paths taken, and average, "time on task".
  5. Optional: export data as a .csv or .xls file.



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