Navigation Testing

The best way to help users find their way.

Introduction

Navigation tests analyze how users navigate through your website or application. The results will help you to improve your information architecture and hone critical user flows.

Running a navigation test is simple. You upload a series of screens to emulate a particular navigation or interaction flow and at each step highlight the parts of the interface which can be clicked to navigate to the next step in the sequence (hitzones). The user is asked to complete a particular task and is presented with your interface. At each step their click position and timing is recorded. If the user clicks within one of the hitzones, they simply proceed to the next step in the sequence. If they don't click within a hitzone, they are asked to explain why they chose to click where they did.

The result is a funnel report showing how many users successfully clicked in the correct place at each step, where people dropped off, and direct explanations from every user who clicked somewhere unexpected. This makes the navigation test an indispensable tool for uncovering and understanding points of common user confusion.

Navigation testing also allows you to gain valuable feedback in the early stages of the design process because it can be performed on sketches, wireframes, or mock-ups of an interface design.

Key benefits of navigation testing

  • Measure how long a respondent takes to navigate through a process, with the aim of making the process faster and simpler for your users.
  • Identify where and why your users are dropping off, allowing you to improve critical user flows on your website or application.

Testing Websites

Websites have a number of flows that are suitable for navigation testing. It's common to test whether users can easily find particular sections or particular pieces of information on your website. Signup and checkout flows are other popular test subjects.

Key questions

  • Is the primary navigation easy for users to understand?
  • Is important information where users expect to find it?
  • Where are people dropping off when trying to find information?
  • Are there any points of friction in important flows?

Example tests

Testing Wireframes

Testing wireframes allows you to identify issues with your navigation and implement solutions before the product is built. This saves time and money in the long run and improves the quality of the design from the beginning.

Key questions

  • Can users navigate successfully through a task on my design?
  • Are my visual elements, including icons, clear?

Testing User Onboarding

Decreasing friction in user onboarding is one of the most valuable optimizations available to most applications. Navigation testing can identify pain points in an onboarding flow, and allows you to test out different onboarding flows before sending them live (or even building them).

Key questions

  • How long does it take a user to complete the onboarding process?
  • Where are users confused by the onboarding process?

Example tests