December 9th, 2005
I recently discussed how we use the 5-second test technique to gather users’ initial impressions of designs. While we’ve found this technique to be an essential part of our usability toolbox, it still has limits in what it can tell us.
Since my first posting, many readers have asked whether they can use the 5-second test to evaluate their home page designs. While the technique is great way to get a glimpse into what happens during the first moments a user sees a page, it hasn’t given us valuable results when we’ve looked at home pages.
We’ve found that a 5-second test works best when we use it on content pages designed with a single primary purpose. However, a site’s home page typically serves the needs of several audiences, each with their own set of tasks. As a result, each of these different users see different things on the page, depending on their context and immediate goals. We’ve found that other techniques, such as traditional usability tests and inherent value tests do a better job of measuring the effectiveness of the home page.
In case you missed it, a few months back, I wrote an article about the 5-second test methodology, outlining how we set up these types of tests and when they are most effective.Tweet