Tree Testing: Comparing Online Supermarkets

UX & CX Content Collection

How users experience online grocery shopping

Online supermarkets should make an effort to improve the User Experience, allowing users to take a virtual tour of their products and offers with a more visual and intuitive interface, instead of using menus and drop-down navigation. It allows customers to quickly and easily discover new products and add them to their shopping basket.

To identify issues and opportunities for improvement, it is necessary to continuously conduct online based usability studies.

Tree Testing identifies weaknesses

At UserZoom, we conducted a usability test to find out how easily users understand the terminology of online supermarkets when looking for a specific product. By means of an international Tree Test we asked a total of 180 users to search for certain items. The study was conducted in three countries: United Kingdom (ASDA, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s), Spain (Mercadona, Carrefour, Caprabo), and Germany (EDEKA, REWE, Bringmeister).

card sorting

Every user performed 5 different tasks with regards to the navigation structure of 1 online supermarket. The participants were asked to look for the following products:

  1. Honey
  2. Juice
  3. Muffins
  4. Pizza
  5. Rubbish bags

Although it looks like a short and simple shopping list, more than half of the users were not able to find a product in their first attempt.

By means of the study we identified 5 Best Practices for naming categories in a navigation structure


  1. Be simple: no ambiguous categories,
  2. Be clear: avoid similar names,
  3. Be specific: no generic terms,
  4. Be intuitive: main categories should indicate what´s inside subcategories,
  5. Be explicit: don´t use time of consumption as reference.

For further insight and information, download the study.

Download Whitepaper