All You Need to Know About the Five-Second Test
Optimize users' comprehension of your designs by tracking first impressions and recall
3 min read
WHAT IS A FIVE-SECOND TEST?
A Five-second Test is a research method that gives information about what your users can instantly remember from your design. The Five-second Test helps you discover the first bits of information users get from your design and their first impressions about it.
Jacob Nielsen observes: 'users often leave web pages in 10-20 seconds.' By implication, websites these days have between 5-10 seconds to impress users enough to make them stay or leave.
Further buttressing the need for five-second tests, Nielsen Group also shares that while ‘five seconds of viewing time is too short for reading copy or for noticing details like specific fonts or colours, it is enough to form an impression that accurately reflects the visual style.’
WHAT CAN YOU USE THE FIVE-SECOND TEST FOR?
As a usability test, the Five-Second Test measures how which messages/impressions a design communicates instantly. This testing method provides qualitative and quantitative feedback to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of a design based on users’ first impressions.
To run a five-second test, you provide users with the content on a device screen. This content could be anything such as; website pages, web designs, app designs, a prototype, wireframe, or logo. Then, you ask the users questions based on what they see. Using this method also gives you the added advantage of insights on necessary details that might be missing, what more could be added, what users want or don't want, and what they can instantly remember from the displayed items.
The five-second test helps you answer the following questions:
Do users get your intended message or not?
Do users understand your design or not?
Does your design look trustworthy or not?
In a nutshell, a five-second test also helps you:
Identify your aims
Design your products
Analyse users' first impressions
Test your app, website, logo
Know the aim of your design
STEPS IN CONDUCTING A FIVE-SECOND TEST
Identify what to test and specify the aim of your test
Upload the design or product and create the test
Publish the test and share
Analyse the results
HOW VALUABLE IS A FIVE-SECOND TEST?
The value of five-second testing is largely determined by the questions you ask the users. This is why it is important to always specify your aims and objectives for conducting the five-second test. This will help you to identify the questions about your product that you need the five-second test to help you answer.
A good practice, in this case, is to keep your questions well-structured and straightforward.
WHEN CAN YOU USE A FIVE-SECOND TEST?
A five-second test can be conducted when you would like to measure user first impressions of your product, physically or online. You should however note that while a Five-Second Test helps you measure users' first impressions, design surveys are better suited for measuring complex insights.
For emphasis, a five-second test is not appropriate for any of these:
A page that demands users to read for a long time
Getting answers to complex design or product questions
Measuring user behaviour
RUN YOUR FIVE-SECOND TEST WITH CROWD
Put your prototype or content to the five-second test and discover users' first impressions of it.