First click testing is a method for measuring the usability of a website, app, or design by finding out how easy it is to complete a given task.
The aim of first click testing is to verify that the first click a user makes on an interface to carry out a given task is clear and easy.
Web analytics packages can tell you where users clicked, but not what they were trying to achieve. Click testing allows you to ask users to carry out a specific task, letting you isolate and investigate user behavior around each different scenario separately.
One of the most influential studies into usability, “First Click Usability Testing” by Bob Bailey and Cari Wolfson, delved into the importance of the user’s first click being correct. Their findings showed that if the first click was correct, users had an 87% chance of completing the action correctly, as opposed to just 46% if the first click was wrong.
In a first click test, the participant is given a task (e.g. “Where would you click to buy this product?”) and is then shown an image of an interface, on which they click to complete the task.
The position of their click is recorded, along with how long they took to click. Further feedback can also be gathered at the end of the test by asking the user to explain why they clicked where they did.
First click tests can be run using screenshots, sketches, wireframes, prototypes, and mock-ups, giving you the freedom to test from very early on in the design process, all the way through to the final designs and live interfaces.
Visualising exactly where people are clicking gives great insight into the design. Clicks that occur in unexpected places can highlight confusing parts of an interface and are useful for informing future design choices.
First click testing gives you information about user expectations, particularly for common interface elements such as menus, buttons, and form elements.
Measuring the time taken to click can help you determine how easily users are able to find the correct place to click and provides a useful benchmark for comparing the usability of design alternatives.
When running first click tests on a new design, it’s essential to also test the original design. This not only gives you an idea of which elements you could improve but also gives you a benchmark so you can measure and verify improvements in the new design.