Kate Betteridge
Mixed-Methods Researcher

Consulting Industry - Information Architecture Study (Tree Test)

Does a website's complex IA enable visitors to find information they seek?

Consulting Industry - Information Architecture Study (Tree Test)

Sample Finding: 68% of job seekers reported that they would expect to find information about what it's like to work at this organization outside of the Careers tab.

Project overview

  • Role: Team Lead (team of 3 Research Associates)

  • Client: Global Consulting Firm

  • Methods: Tree Tests, Surveys

  • Deliverables: 2 targeted recruits, response data from 331 participants, 2 detailed reports, executive presentation

Problem Statement

Prior to a major site-redesign, a global consulting firm came to us with a question:

Are prospective clients and job seekers able to find the information they need on our corporate website?

We designed and ran a tree test and quantitative survey for each persona to help the client gain information about visitor behavior on their website.

Study Goals:

  1. Measure a statistically significant number of user responses to information-finding tasks

  2. Analyze responses and recommend IA changes to better match user expectations

  3. Incorporate findings into future site redesign

Guiding Questions:

  • Does the website's IA allow the users to find the information they seek?​

  • Where do potential clients find the information they need to make a decision about partnering? ​

  • Can job seekers find the information they need to apply for a job on the website?​


Test Design:

Five levels of the IA of the website (250+ nodes)  was replicated in TreeJack – an Optimal Workshop tool

We devised a series of tasks that asked participants to locate where they would expect to find certain information.

  • Potential clients = 8 tasks

  • Job Seekers = 2 tasks + 2 survey questions


As the client lead, I worked closely with Optimal Workshop to recruit a custom panel of 300+ participants who were likely fit within the two profiles of potential clients and job seekers.

  • For potential clients, we went through multiple rounds of recruits to identify participants who were involved in the vendor selection process for organizations that might be clients in the future.

  • For job seekers, we went through multiple rounds of recruits to identify individuals who were qualified for the types of jobs that this company offers.

I cleaned and analyzed the data against client requirements in order to select final responses for analysis, based on items such as education level, job function, time to complete, and speed bump questions.

Findings and Recommendations

By analyzing where study participants expected to find information, we gained insights into their behavior and expectations. 

  • Sample Finding: 68% of job seekers reported that they would expect to find information about what it's like to work at this organization outside of the Careers tab (Figure 1).

Based on this insight into behavior we were able to provide recommendations to better match content and IA to user expectations.

  • Sample Recommendation: link to career opportunities throughout the site for candidates to find as they naturally explore.


We delivered two sets of reports with a 45 minute presentation summarizing findings to executive stakeholders. Next steps include using the findings from the IA study to create new site wireframes and validate them through a usability test with 8-10 participants.

Lessons Learned

This was my first time leading a project at the Bentley UXC, and it occured during the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic and switch to remote work. Through this project, I learned how to step into a collaboartive leadership role, especially in delegating project tasks to my peers. By asking my team members what they were interested in contributing, and then assigning to each of us other items that played to our strengths, I learned how to highlight the assets of the group and help the whole project come together quickly even in the midst of chaos.