Usability Tools Podcast: 5-Second Usability Tests

Jared Spool

September 10th, 2007

UIE Usability Tools Podcast: 5 Second Tests
Recorded: August 7, 2007 from the studios of UIE
Brian Christiansen, UIE Podcast Producer
Duration: 16 min | File size: 9.5 MB
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Each week in our Usability Tools Podcast, I will be sitting down with UIE’s Managing Director, Christine Perfetti to discuss tips and tools for improving your site’s user experience. The goal of our weekly podcast is to share some of the most important findings from UIE’s research on web design and usability.

This week, Christine Perfetti asked me about one of UIE’s most popular usability testing techniques, 5-Second Tests. A couple of years ago, Christine Perfetti wrote an excellent introductory article about 5-Second Tests, and we’ve been getting questions about the technique ever since.

The 5-Second Test Method shows users a single content page for a quick 5 seconds to gather their initial impressions. Five seconds may not seem like a lot of time, but users make important judgments in the first moments they visit a page. In this podcast, Christine and I discuss:

» Why 5-Second Tests should be used primarily to test a site’s content pages
» Why 5-Second Tests aren’t effective on most Home Pages
» How to conduct this test with your users
» What some of the common mistakes design teams make when conducting a 5-Second Test
» How to recruit users with this technique
» How to combine 5-Second Techniques with other types of tasks

As always, we’re very interested in hearing from you. Do you have questions or comments about this episode? Do you have suggestions for future episodes? We want to know. Please leave a comment below or email us directly at

UIE’s Latest Research: If you’re interested in the topics Christine and I discuss in the podcasts, I highly suggest you sign up for our free newsletter, UIEtips, to read our latest usability and design research as soon as we publish it. We’ll also notify you in UIEtips when we publish new podcasts.

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15 Responses to “Usability Tools Podcast: 5-Second Usability Tests”

  1. Fresh: новости мира юзабилити » Blog Archive » Подкаст о юзабилити-инструментах: 5-секундное юзабилити-тестирование Says:

    […] UIE, страница о подкасте […]

  2. UIEtips Article: 5-Second Tests — Measuring Your Site’s Content Pages » UIE Brain Sparks Says:

    […] 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 […]

  3. World’s Shortest Usability Test « Experiences in a Digital World Says:

    […] about their 5-second usability testing method. Don’t feel like reading, here’s a “podcast” on the topic with Christine Perfetti and Jared […]

  4. En vrac - backlinks, 5 seconds de test & l’avis du consommateur Says:

    […] – Un podcast (en anglais) : interview de Jared Spool sur le test d’utilisabilité en 5 secondes. […]

  5. Daniel Szuc Says:

    Good listening and look forward to discussing this tool in further depth at UI12 as we enjoy a drink together 🙂

    Priority definitely on what the user thinks they can “do”.

    In addition, often organisations will want to know whether users understand “intended business image” For example, does it convey the right image to the user and does the user know its the Home Page of that organisation.

    It gives us a chance to get feedback on both quickly and its worked well.

  6. Russ Sese Says:

    The 5-second usability test is a useful method, but the 5 seconds probably only apply to people with no visual impairments.

    For users with visual impairments and/or who are blind, would you suggest a longer period of time? If so, for how long?

  7. Ruairi Galavan Says:

    Hi Russ (thanks for the binders – your money is in the post—soon!),

    I was recently amazed at the speed that i saw a viusualy impaired user interact with an interface using a screen reader.

    Perhaps a 5 second type test would apply under the same constraints. I would imagine that visualy impaired users interact with an interface at a simliar speed. So, I would imagine that an ever so slighlty longer test of the same type could be appropriate.

    Anyone else got thoughts on this?….Has anybody tried this?

  8. The Art of Web Usability » Blog Archive » Fünf Sekunden sind entscheidend… Says:

    […]  […]

  9. Will “The EvCC Strict Coder Guru” » Five Usability Challenges Says:

    […] also came out with a podcast article about a 5-second test for your web pages, what are the initial impressions, what did the user […]

  10. 5-sekundowy test « O użyteczności zwanej też usability Says:

    […] Podcast z strony UIE, krótkie wprowadzenie do tego czym jest 5-sekundowy test Podcast pod adresem 5-Second Usability Tests W […]

  11. UNITiD » Blog Archive » User testing 2.0: Says:

    […] objectief en onbeïnvloed worden achterhaald. Meer over de vijf-seconden-test vindt je in deze podcast van Jared Spool en dit artikel van Christine […]

  12. Phil Spencer Says:

    I don’t get the explanation about why it doesn’t work so well for a home page evaluation. You talk about how in that instance you’d set up a context and conduct a task focused test, but then go on to talk about how you might want to set up a context for other pages where you do use 5 second test. I don’t see the difference?

    You also talk about how no one would arrive at a home page without some context “everyone knows what UPS does”, but surely the same argument applies to your address change example – no one would click on the address change link without the context of wanting to change their address thus they’d arrive at the page with an expectation.

    I don’t find the distinction clear enough. In fact I’m on the side of it is equally useful for home page (not that I’ve used this technique yet). Say you click a search result link through to a home page – you need to know quickly that the page you hit matches your expectations based on your search query. Same as any other page, if you clicked an internal link to change address you’d need to know quickly that was the right page. Home page is no different other than it might just possibly be a more common entry point to your site, which surely makes it MORE important.

  13. Mehr Usability für Webseiten, bitte « Says:

    […] Frage nach dem Sinn und Zweck einer Seite kann in einem kurzen Testverfahren klären: Im 5-Sekunden-Test wird dem Tester die Webseite für 5 Sekunden gezeigt, danach ausgeblendet. Hinterher soll die Frage […]

  14. Five-Second-Tests: In fünf Sekunden den ersten Eindruck und Content-Usability messen | //SEIBERT/MEDIA Weblog Says:

    […] Technology, 25:2 S. 115-126. Justin Palmer: You’ve got 5 Seconds, don’t waste them Podcast von Jared Spool über Five-Second-Tests Vorheriger Beitrag Dieser Eintrag wurde am Montag, den 7. Februar 2011 um 09:53 Uhr […]

  15. //SEIBERT/MEDIA Weblog » Blog Archiv » Five Second Tests: Measure Content Usability and Get a First Impression in Five Seconds Says:

    […] Jared Spool about Five Second Tests (Podcast) Weitere Informationen zu User-Tests Vorheriger Beitrag Dieser Eintrag wurde am Mittwoch, den 1. Juni 2011 um 09:40 Uhr von Sebastian Preuss veröffentlicht und ist Teil der Kategorie Arbeitstechniken, Trends, Usability, Web-Technologien. Sie können alle Antworten auf diesen Beitrag durch den RSS 2.0 Feed mitverfolgen. Sie können eine Antwort schreiben, oder einen Trackback auf Ihrer Seite einrichten. Keywords: Englisch, English, Five-Second-Test, Halo-Effect, Mere-Exposure-Effect, Remote-User-Test, Usability, User-Test var a2a_config = a2a_config || {}; a2a_localize = { Share: "Share", Save: "Save", Subscribe: "Subscribe", Email: "E-Mail", Bookmark: "Bookmark", ShowAll: "Show all", ShowLess: "Show less", FindServices: "Find service(s)", FindAnyServiceToAddTo: "Instantly find any service to add to", PoweredBy: "Powered by", ShareViaEmail: "Share via e-mail", SubscribeViaEmail: "Subscribe via e-mail", BookmarkInYourBrowser: "Bookmark in your browser", BookmarkInstructions: "Press Ctrl+D or Cmd+D to bookmark this page", AddToYourFavorites: "Add to your favorites", SendFromWebOrProgram: "Send from any e-mail address or e-mail program", EmailProgram: "E-mail program" }; a2a_config.linkname="Five Second Tests: Measure Content Usability and Get a First Impression in Five Seconds"; a2a_config.linkurl=""; var a2a_config = a2a_config || {}; a2a_config.linkname="//SEIBERT/MEDIA Weblog"; a2a_config.linkurl=""; Verwandte Artikel:Online Campaigns with Google AdWords: Risk vs. ChanceUser-Test Ihrer Web-AnwendungE-Learning ist nichts ohne Tests.Five-Second-Tests: In fünf Sekunden den ersten Eindruck und Content-Usability messen//SEIBERT/MEDIA führt User-Test für den DG VERLAG durch […]

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