proven by users logo

An Introduction to Five Second Testing

What is 5 Second Testing?

Five Second Testing is a simple user research test that provides insight into what your users remember most about your site. Simply said, it measures users' first impressions.

This test is run by showing your participants an image for 5 seconds (or another duration you set) then asking them a set of questions. If you're interested in what part of your website is sticking with users, this is the perfect research test type.

Why five seconds?

The five second test is targeted at gut reactions to a page, that initial impression and the the emotional response. A few reasons why five seconds is a good time:

  1. Research by Jacob Nielsen has shown that users often leave web pages in 10-20 seconds
  2. Your test is targeted at that initial impression. As the Nielsen Group suggests:

    5 seconds of viewing time is too short for reading copy or for noticing details like specific fonts or colors, but it is enough for forming an impression which accurately reflects the visual style.

What can be tested

Five second testing can be used to test an app, website, logo, wire-frame or prototype. Every picture communicates a message and you can use this test to understand the first impression message it's sending.

It's important to distinguish five second testing from other testing types like first click testing. In comparison to first click testing, five second testing is more interested in the impression the image gave, rather than how to accomplish a specific task.

Setting up a five second test in proven by users Setting up a Five second test in proven by users

What can you learn

The value of a five second tests comes from the questions you ask. Like any good survey these can be created to collect quantitative or qualitative feedback. Check out our Introduction to Surveys to learn more about crafting good survey questions. Typically, these questions come in a few flavors:

Functional Questions

Functional questions would seek to understand specifics of what was in the image. Because first click testing is targeted at impressions, approach these types of questions at a very high level. For example:

Emotional Questions

Emotional questions would target how the design made them feel. For example:

Learn more about five second testing

Next Steps