When you hear the words ‘card sorting’ or ‘treejack testing’, the chances are you’ll have no idea what task you’re about to be asked to complete. After all, card sorting sounds much more like a magic trick than a type of paid website testing!
Try not to be put off by the techie jargon – these phrases are actually a form of fun, interactive website testing, which typically don’t involve you using a real website at all… Feeling intrigued?
Traditionally, card sorting was performed in person, using real cards (hence the name!). These days, the research is usually completed via an online tool, where you can drag and drop or simply click on digital cards to organise them into groups.
1. Open card sorting
Typically referred to as the card sorting technique. Imagine you’re given a pile of randomly labelled cards (‘jackets’, ‘delivery’, ‘terms and conditions’, ‘shoes’, for example). You’re asked to group these labels into piles which make sense to you. You will then label these groups according to why you have put them together: e.g. ‘shoes’ and ‘jackets’ could be grouped together and labelled ‘clothing’ or ‘products’.
The researchers are looking to see how participants form common groupings. The sessions can be both in person or online, using digital cards, but the goal remains the same. The researcher will analyse patterns and use this data to influence the layout on their physical website, particularly their navigation bar.
2. Treejack testing (or tree testing)
There’s much more to this type of website testing than just a funny sounding name. Treejack testing is similarly looking to find out more about how people navigate a website. However, it’s more task driven.
The user will be asked to look for a particular product or service on a simplified version of a website navigation bar and their journey will be analysed. Did they stall at any point? Did they click on something which did not lead them down the right path?
Treejack testing takes visual prompts out of the equation and tests just the labels being used. It is not all about reaching the end destination – it’s much more about the user experience in finding what they are looking for.
3. Closed card sorting
We recently had a closed card sorting session at People for Research. It was online and, using a digital tool, users had to drag and drop labels under predetermined headings. They were essentially building a navigation bar in a very simplified and easy-to-use way.
After a closed card sorting session, users may also be asked to complete a survey, detailing their choices further and explaining the reasons behind these.
4. Reverse card sorting
This is a variation of closed card sorting, but the key difference here is that you are required to use a hierarchy under the headings, listing the most important labels first. This shows the researcher your priorities and the labels you believe will be needed by the user most regularly.
To find out more about our remote paid research and testing studies, take a look at our Opportunities page to get started!