The Pietree: Visualising Tree Test Results

Andrew Mayfield

Treejack's Pietree Visualising Tree Test Results Treejack's Pietree Visualising Tree Test Results


A couple of months ago now I presented this poster (at a monstrous 4' square) at Euro IA in Prague to an excitable group of enthusiastic Information Architects, Content Strategists and UX Designers. I believe it was just prior to the piano sing-a-long in the hotel lobby!

For some reason we've never officially announced Treejack's Pietree, probably because it has always been somewhat of an experiment. So far though the experiment has been a wild success. People love it. Even Dave O'Brien, the guy who [loves spreadsheets, and] built the first prototype of Treejack for his own use now uses the Pietree as his primary method for understanding his study results.

In short, Treejack is our online user research tool for validating proposed information structures and labels. Usability testing a taxonomy you might say. The Pietree shows you where your participants went in your site IA in response to the task you set them, and what choice they made at each point along the way.

You can choose to view it in vertical format rather than radial if you'd like to, and you can hide all the nodes that got no visits for this task.

Of course, being a baby there are still some issues with the Pietree visualisation, like scalability for example. Deep trees are sometimes both slow to render (in animated browser based SVG) and too large to view effectively onscreen. However we've got some more enhancements in the pipes to help out with these issues (and see the PPS below).

If you've got a tree test coming up, or you've got some old results in your account I highly recommend you check out the Pietree, and please let us know what you think of it.

PS. I thoroughly recommend the Euro IA conference, it is a fantastic mix of culture and opinions and a lot of fun to boot.

PPS. Did you hear when I said it is an SVG?! Do you know how awesome that is? It mean you can view source (until we add a special Download As File feature), copy the SVG part into a text file and open that file in Illustrator or Inkscape and print it out on a large format printer! THAT is how awesome it is. THAT is how I made the poster :-)

Andrew Mayfield

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