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The Five Second Test

Published 5 years ago, in Blog, Web


On the Web, first impressions are everything. Your page may have great content, it may just be what users are looking for, but, if your design fails to captivate users in a mere 5 seconds, your content might just never get noticed.

Enter the 5 Second Test, a quick Usability Test that costs next to nothing and can deliver great results. It’s basically  like any other usability test you’ve probably conducted before: there are users, tasks, and the application/site you’re testing.

At the start of the test, give your user a task to perform:

You’re on Application X’s home page. What are the ways you can subscribe to the application?

After informing the user that the page will only be visible for a short period of time, ask her to try and remember everything she sees.

You would then show your user the home page for about 5 seconds, and afterwards have her write down everything she remembers about the page. Finish up by asking one or two questions to assess whether the user has completed her task.

Sounds useful, doesn’t it? There are several benefits to using this method, the most proeminent being that it’s cheap and that you can conduct a whole lot of tests in a small window of time.

Even though conducting this kind of usability test is easy, I’ve found a handy tool that simplifies it even further. As a developer, you can create three kinds of test: classical (which is the one I described), compare (in which users compare two different interfaces) and sentiment (in which users describe their mood and most and least liked elements in the interface). As a user, you can take random tests and, as the page puts it, make an interface designer happy!