UIEtips Article: 5-Second Tests — Measuring Your Site’s Content Pages

Jared Spool

September 11th, 2007

UIEtips 9/11/07: 5-Second Tests: Measuring Your Site’s Content Pages

It’s hard enough creating usable designs when there is ample time and plenty of resources, but what do you do when that’s just not an option for your design team? One of the most common reasons designs fail users is because the design team didn’t have the time or resources to focus on user research or conduct usability testing. That’s why one of our main goals at User Interface Engineering is to disseminate some of the quick-and-dirty techniques available to designers and usability professionals.

One of our most valuable techniques is the 5-Second Test. This technique turns out to be a quick, flexible testing method that gives teams fascinating insights about the design. In this week’s issue of our email newsletter, UIEtips, we re-printed an excellent article that describes the 5-Second Test technique and discusses its advantages and disadvantages for measuring the effectiveness of web site content pages. I think you’ll enjoy it.

Read today’s UIEtips article.

Christine Perfetti and I also recently discussed the topic in our Usability Tools Podcast Series. If you would like to learn more about the techniques, I highly suggest you give it a listen.

Also, if you’re struggling to come up with the time or resources to conduct user research, you’ll really want to take advantage of the latest live presentation in UIE’s Virtual Seminar Series. On September 27th, my good friend, Larry Constantine, will present the online seminar, Don’t Panic: Design and Usability Under Impossible Pressure, sharing a wide range of field-proven techniques for conquering design and usability problems while in crunch mode. You really shouldn’t miss it.

One Response to “UIEtips Article: 5-Second Tests — Measuring Your Site’s Content Pages”

  1. Holly Bodger Says:

    I also use a “one second test” when testing the redesign of my Web pages. For this test, you tell the user that you want them to immediately tell you the first thing they see on the page and then you open the new design and ask them what they saw first. If they see what you want them to see first (in most cases this is the content) then you have achieved the right balance but if they see the banner ad, the navigation or some other secondary element on the page, then your balance is off and you need to go back to the drawing board. Too many sites over-emphasize their ads, their logos or their navigation bars and then wonder why no one stays on their site to read their content.

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