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5-Second Test

What is a 5-second test?

A 5-second test is a usability test in which a participant is shown the user interface of a software application or website for five seconds. After the 5-second test, the participant is then asked what he can remember from the layout he has seen. This is a particularly useful method to see whether key visuals or call-to-action buttons have the right impact on the user.

How can the 5-second test be useful?

Many people make judgments about a website within the first five seconds of visiting it. Website designers and operators want to ensure, not only that their website makes a good impression on users, but also that key navigation features or call to action buttons stand out. The 5-second test can therefore highlight if these are not visually optimized. One limitation of the 5-second test is that the interactive elements of an application cannot be tested. Therefore the 5-second test is usually carried out in the first stage of several usability tests.

How to perform a 5-second test

Before the 5-second test begins, the moderator may tell the test user to focus on a particular aspect of the interface design or ask where they would click to find certain information. The participant is then shown the user interface of a prototype or final application for exactly five seconds. To ensure accuracy a timer should be used. At the end of the 5-second test, the test user will often be asked what key features they could remember from the website. The results of the test are then compiled. The user interface design is then optimized based on this feedback.

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