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How to test the navigation of a website

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Among the most important elements in the process of creating a website are navigating. Just as important is the design, appearance, and content, but we can not ignore the fact that without the simple and cursory navigation the above can become insignificant. For this reason, they are all closely interrelated.

In this thread, we will devote ourselves exclusively to navigation, more precisely testing it during the website development phase, so as to ensure that users enjoy a pleasant and easy experience while browsing our site.

No matter what type of navigation we take - funny, creative, simple, etc. - we will always ensure its perfect operation. When we talk about testing the ease of using and accessing the information architecture of a website, the most effective tests will be sorting and the tree method.

Both types of testing are simple and easy to accomplish by providing useful information to maximize the organization of a web page. Testing by sorting will take place prior to the process of building a website, implicitly of its structure, and will help us understand how to organize a website as naturally as possible. Tree testing occurs after the website design as a validation method of success or, as the case may be, as a way to improve the site.

Testing by sorting

The beauty of this test method is simplicity. As in any other field, and in web design, this test technique can be successfully applied. What does testing by sorting mean? Depending on the needs and objectives of each website, the names of the main elements of the site that will make up the navigation menu will be written on the cards and sorted by the participants in the order of importance considered by them.

You can also use an Optimal Sort tool that will analyze this data. In any case, the result will help us better understand how users will intuitively navigate on a website.

There are several different strategies to sort these cards, obviously depending on the business needs for which the website process takes place. In this regard, we will analyze the open and closed sorting types:

Open sorting involves the provision of cards (on which different elements are noted) to users in order to categorize them into groups they themselves designate. It's a recommended method to get new ideas.

Closed sorting, on the other hand, refers to the same categorization but in predefined groups. It is a recommended method if we already have existing categories.

When applying the sorting test method to browse a website, we'll take into account a pre-set time, because if we want optimal results, we need to think that browsing is done quite quickly by users.

Several rules for sorting are: use of a universal and accessible language, use of empty cards (to leave room for new ideas), refraining from any interventions to influence final results, limiting the number of cards (we can avoid pages "Contact" or "Terms and Conditions" standard, as they will be found on any website).

Tree testing method.

In opposition to screening testing, this method allows testing how information is crafted after the website design concept has been achieved. Shaft testing involves unzipping the navigation system with visual elements to see how the basic structure of that web site works.

In the web design process, this test is one of the most important steps in the intrusion involving finding various information on a sitemap by the participants. And for this test, there are useful tools, among them Treejack, to see if users have accessed the correct destination or found what they were looking for. It is, therefore, a useful way to find out when users can easily navigate.

A poor navigation menu cannot be improved by just a search box because users will not know what to look for. A basic rule in web design tells us that we have to make users think as little as possible - not to struggle to remember - because they can negatively affect their experience (UX).

Tree testing is usually used for two reasons: to determine how much a particular product is looking for and to conclude if the navigation requires any modifications. We can say it's a test to get statistics.

Giving importance to the structure of information since the process of the website is in development, we can identify and solve the navigation problems before they are signaled by the end users.
 
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