What you’ll find in this article:
- What is the 5 Second Test?
- How does the 5 Second Test work?
- When Should I Use the 5 Second Test?
- Getting the most out of your results
- Pros and Cons of the 5 Second Test
- Using the 5 Second Test with Qualaroo
What is the 5 Second Test?
The 5 Second Test is a usability test commonly used to measure and better understand users’ first impressions of designs. This test can be conducted on prototypes, websites, mockups, or graphic designs, and is intended to ascertain the first impression participants have of your site.
As the name implies, this type of test typically takes place after a user views your website, prototype, or design for 5 seconds. 5 seconds may not sound like much time, but it’s (possibly even more than) enough time for users to form a first impression.
How does the 5 Second Test work?
5 Second Tests are simple to run. After 5 seconds on a page, ask users a question to determine if they understand the purpose or main idea of whatever you’re testing. It’s common to prime users on the format of the 5 Second Test, display the website/prototype/design for 5 seconds, then ask a few questions about the main idea of the page.
Specific wording of questions for the 5 Second Test can vary, but here is an example of a 4 question 5 Second Test we put together for our Templates.
- What was the first thing that came to mind when you opened our product?
- What one thing were you most excited about after opening our product?
- What was the first thing you did with our product?
- What do you think is the purpose of the product?
You may tweak these as you like, but the idea is that these open-ended questions will help you better understand the first impression users have when viewing your product/tool/website/mockup. If you do edit these, avoid asking questions related to the aesthetic or visual appeal of your product. Remember that the goal of this test is to validate whether or not your users understand the value of what you have to offer from a first glance.
When Should I Use the 5 Second Test?
One of the great things about the 5 Second Test is that it can be relevant at many of the design process phases. Whether you are looking to get early stage insights on a prototype or test a live webpage, the 5 Second Test can help you answer whether or not your design communicates what it’s supposed to at first glance. When used comparatively, the 5 Second Test can also give you helpful insights about redesigns.
Keep in mind that while the 5 Second Test may be useful at most stages of the design process, it really is only intended to measure first, or at-a-glance impressions. If you need more in-depth insights, then you will need to employ different types of usability testing. According to UsabilityHub, 5 Second Tests are particularly not suitable for pages that require a lot of reading, tests used to predict user behavior, or complex questions.
Getting the most out of your results
Of course, conducting 5 Second Tests is only half of the process. Now it’s time to analyze your insights. Luckily for you, the results of 5 Second Tests are pretty simple to interpret.
UsabilityHub cites 80% as the ideal benchmark for the number of participants who have indicated that they understand the main idea of your page. However, if you’re pretty far off that mark, you may want to reassess your design. Additionally, you will want to make sure that you’re collecting open-ended responses to analyze. This will help you identify any similarities or themes that may come up as points of confusion.
Pros and Cons of the 5 Second Test
- One of the best things about the 5 Second Test is its simplicity. Because this test is designed to help you understand something as simple as a first impression, it’s pretty easy to categorize participants as users who understood your design and users who didn’t.
- The 5 Second Test also gives us a lense to understand a question that, while simple, can also be nebulous. When trying to understand why users didn’t complete x, y, or z task the way they were supposed to, it can be hard to know where in the process to investigate.
- The 5 Second Test, while applicable at various points in the design phase, also has a very specific purpose: to understand first/at-a-glance impressions. This test is not so much a diagnostic tool as it is a way to understand whether or not users ‘get’ your design.
- Because the 5 Second Test has such a specific purpose, that also means it only makes sense on certain types of pages. According to UIE, these types of pages are those designed with one main purpose.
Using the 5 Second Test with Qualaroo
- Select the right channel.
- Decide where you want to run your 5 Second Test Nudge (desktop, mobile web, prototype, mobile app) and select “Choose Template.”
- Don’t worry–you can run this survey on as many channels as your organization needs. You’ll just need to create additional surveys to cover the different domains your organization spans.
- Find your template.
- Select 5 Second Test from our list of pre-vetted templates. You can type “5 Second Test” into the search bar to find it or filter by validate/prototype/iterate.
- Create, edit and publish your survey!
- Because the 5 Second Test is pretty straightforward, you don’t need to do much customizing apart from making sure your questions are clear. There is placeholder text in the Templates, so pay special attention to replacing that with the appropriate terms for your study.
- Note that there are a few different versions of the 5 Second Test in our Templates, each of these has slight variations and you’ll want to flip through them to make sure you choose the version that best fits your goals.
Recommended targeting options
- Where should this survey appear?:
- On the pages where you want to conduct a 5 second test.
- Who should be prompted to take this survey?:
- Select 100% of all visitors who meet the conditions specified below
- "Came directly to your site (typed in your URL, or bookmark)"
- When should this survey be displayed?:
- By default, this template is set to display the Nudge after 5 seconds.
- How often should this survey be displayed?:
- Select “Continue showing until a visitor provides a response”
If you want to learn more about all the options available within the Targeting Section, please visit this section of our Help Center.
5 Second Tests can be valuable at pretty much every phase of the design process. Whether you want to compare redesigns or validate a prototype, the 5 Second Test can help. With Templates, you can start understanding your users’ first impressions of your designs more quickly than ever before.
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