When landing on your website, the primary goal of most new visitors is to find out if what you’re offering is for them — as quickly as possible. Web analytics will tell you how many visitors bounce, and how quickly, but not why. A simple five second test can be used to learn about the first impression your landing page gives to visitors.
Five seconds might seem like no time at all, but humans are very visual creatures. In research conducted by Google, the first 50 milliseconds of looking at a website were enough for participants to form a judgement about it.
Asking questions like ‘Who would find this site useful?’, ‘What does this company do?’ or ‘What sort of product or service was this site offering?’ are great starting points. Don’t be afraid of asking more specific questions — but keep in mind that with only five seconds to view your design, you’re going to get surface level data back.
Five second tests are most effective when you focus on one or two key questions, and then use that as a jumping off point for your design iterations, or a deeper dive into more user research.
When it comes to analyzing results, go through the text responses to your questions and categorize them into groups that either understood or misunderstood the intended audience of the page. You’ll be able to get a gut feel by reading through the responses and a count of how many participants “got it” will give you a yardstick with which to measure your future designs.
In this test, 30 of 50 participants were in the right ballpark with their responses. For a five second test, this is a decent showing, with some room to improve.
The word cloud is useful for identifying themes that stuck in a participant’s head, but don’t rely on it exclusively — it’s important to read every response so that you don’t miss important insights.