The UX Five-Second Rules: Guidelines for User Experience Design's Simplest Testing Technique
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The five-second test is one of the most convenient rapid UX testing methods available, although its value can be compromised by ignoring the restrictions of the method. The Five-Second Rules uses detailed examples from a collection of more than 300 tests to describe the strengths and weaknesses of this rapid testing method. Readers will learn about the "five-second rules" for getting useful data, and will explore what types of design issues can be resolved by using the method.
A five-second test (also known as "timeout test" and "exposure test") involves displaying a visual or informational design for five seconds, removing it from view, then asking what aspects were recalled most easily or vividly. The goal is to understand what stands out most about a design or product, and the impact on the viewer's perception of it.
- Describes the origins of the method and its usefulness in modern UX design research and testing
- Conveys the need to structure tests carefully so that time, effort, and money are not wasted, and compiled data is not misleading
- Fosters an appreciation for the method's outcomes and how they can contribute to the success or failure of a proposed design
Closed questions (“Which option best conveys the value of ‘confidence’?”, “Which logo do you prefer?”) are easier for respondents to answer and will provide more easily quantifiable data, but could increase the likelihood of habituation, a reflexive repetition of answers that will be discussed further in Section 2.6. Predicting Future Behavior It is not uncommon for a test to ask respondents to predict their future behavior, based on solely the image they viewed. Indeed, 16% of the tests
opinions about a design does not require as much recollection of design specifics, so the likelihood of nonresponses is comparatively low. Mixed Tests The vast majority of tests analyzed for this book used a “mixed” format—i.e., using components of more than one of the other test formats. By definition, this represents an “unfocused” approach that likely reflects either (a) a research goal that is not sufficiently specific or (b) a researcher that does not fully understand the limitations of
descriptors: • Professional: 7 of 21 respondents used the word “professional” to describe the design. • Clear: Responses were largely devoid of any measurement either way on the clarity value, with responses indicating that the design is “clean” and “cluttered” canceling each other out. • Stimulating: There is some problem with the stated design value of “stimulating” via indications that the design is “bland” or “vanilla.” • Reassuring: This value was noted in only two responses using the
the highest percentage of participant comments—greater than 46%—referenced “design look” as a critical component in establishing credibility. Likewise, Nielsen (1999) has noted that the “indirect” component of overall “design quality”—which includes professional appearance, conveyance of respect for customers, and implications of good service—is one of the primary ways that a web site can communicate trustworthiness. 4.1 Common Approaches in Five-Second Tests It should then come as no surprise
words in the middle of the page, promoting the service and explaining its general benefit. With all of the other elements competing for attention within the limited amount of exposure time, it is extremely unlikely that any respondent will have enough time to even notice this text, much less internalize, comprehend, and consider it fully enough to render a meaningful opinion (especially when memory capacity has been already been spent answering other questions). Figure 2.1 Skill-sharing web site