Finding The Sitemap From The Trees: What To Look For In The Results

Finding The Sitemap From The Trees: What To Look For In The Results

In our last post we showed you how to setup and conduct your first Tree Test, congratulations you are well on the way to gaining useful insight into how users are navigating around your website! By now you should have some initial results to look over and start analysing how users are using your website. Don’t be overawed by the amount of data that is returned, hopefully you will be able to start identifying patterns in the journeys. Similarly don’t be upset if the results come back as duds, results like these provide you with the means the fix the issues highlighted in the results.

Within Treejack all the results from the test are broken down by tab including Task Result, First Click, Paths and Destinations. Each tab will provide you with a further breakdown containing information specific to the tab’s header.

Task Results

Task Results summarise the information into pie charts and bar graphs showing the rate of success, the directness of the journeys (i.e. did a user go straight to the goal or did they look around first?) and the length of time a user spent on the task. 

Overall we are looking for a high percentage in the success and directness bars as it shows that users can find what they are looking for. Generally if the tasks get a five or lower then it reveals one of several things, either the website structure isn’t correct, users would expect to find information somewhere else within the website or the questioning wasn’t quite correct for us to get a successful completion. In some respects it is ok to get some low scores as it shows that you have some work to do, which means it can be fixed and tested again!


  • Paths show you what pages a user clicked on when participating in the test(s). They are broken down further by:
  • Direct Success –users who went straight to the identified page
  • Indirect Success – users who got to the goal but backtracked in some places
  • Direct Failure – users who nominated a page that didn’t match your defined goal/page
  • Indirect Failure – users who meandered around before nominating an incorrect page
  • Indirect and Direct skip – those who skipped the test(s) entirely

Analysing the paths a user took helps you to see where a user goes to find the information that they are looking for and if anything, it reinforces just how unpredictable users can be! It does however show you if users consistently go to the wrong area as it shows that there is something to address. If it can be addressed then it can be fixed and re-tested!

First Click

This tab shows you where a user began their journey after the home page. Each page is ranked by the number of times it was selected as a first click page.

You can usually get some useful insights from this data as it shows the thought process behind where users think the information they require will be. Analysing this data can be useful to help you identify where a user would go as you can then factor that into any home page design thereby helping users get to where they need to be quickly and efficiently.


Destinations map out the number of times a user selected that page either as their goal or as a page along the way. Parent pages will typically show higher selections as users need to navigate through these pages to access the child pages.

Once you have familiarised yourself with the layout of the results pages you can dig down further into the results. In summary what we are looking for are:

  • The overall success rate of the task, this shows how easy information is to find
  • Finding where the direct and indirect failures lead; does it highlight an issue with the structure or with the naming of the pages?
  • What is the first page a user looks at after the home page
  • Are users meandering around your website? This probably means that the names of some pages are not clear enough for them to make a decision
  • Consider the way that the question is positioned to a user, was it clear enough to establish a goal?
  • Look to establish patterns within the journeys, hopefully there will be some insights that you can follow up with specific users and ask them about in more depth.

To conclude then don’t be overwhelmed by the amount of data you receive from your Tree Testing, the more data we have the more informed we can be on our user base and more importantly, help them to complete the tasks that they are coming to your site to complete.

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