U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

EERE Communication Standards & Guidelines

How to use Tree Jack (Text Version)

Below is the text version for the "How to use Tree Jack" video.

(The screen displays a Web page at OptimalWorkshop.com that gives information about the Tree Jack program.)

Tree Jack is an online tool that can be used to remotely test a site's structure and labels, or information architecture, to be sure that they are intuitive for your users before you go to the expense of creating wireframes or writing content. You can use Tree Jack to help answer questions about which labels work best, whether a structure is too deep, or where to put certain types of content.

The first step in conducting a tree study is to identify the most important tasks that users want to accomplish on your site. Then you'll use that information to craft scenarios, or short stories, that the study participants will use to direct them as they try to accomplish your site's top tasks.

(The presenter clicks on the "See a Demo" button on the page, which takes the screen to a different page with a welcome box and a banner reading "BananaCom" above it. The presenter then clicks on the Continue button in the lower left corner of the welcome box.)

Let's take a look at a sample Tree Jack study. Here's what your study participants would see when they choose to complete your exercise. This tree test is designed to see if users can successfully accomplish their tasks using the BananaCom site structure. Let's look at the first scenario.

(The presenter clicks through to a screen that lists a task at the top with a button reading "Start This Task" below it.)

"You're about to move house and you want to transfer your phone and Internet to the new address. How would you do that?" Let's go ahead and start the task.

(The presenter clicks on the "Start This Task" button, and the screen changes to show a list of hypothetical options from the BananaCom home page. As the presenter reads the options below, she clicks on them.)

Let's see. I would probably start by looking under My Account. Hmm. Account Tools. Moving House. This is where I would look to find it.

(The screen changes back to the OptimalWorkshop.com site and a report of overall statistics.)

At the end of your study, Tree Jack generates a report that helps you evaluate your participants' success.  The report tells you how often your participants' final selections match the intended destination, the speed with which participants accomplished the tasks, and the directness of the participants' routes to the information.

Since tree studies are so easy to set up and run, you can easily tweak your site structure based on the feedback you get from your study, and then retest your structure until you are confident that the structure helps your users find what they need.

When you're ready to run a Tree Jack test on your new site structure, please contact EERE's usability coordinator, who'll get you started on your way.