Dec 10, 2009 / design ~ usability
Usability Testing For Free

I discovered Five Second Test about 6 months ago. It's a place where you can get real-person usability feedback on your web page for free.

Just for fun, I decided to put the Engine Room Applications home page up on there. The results were really interesting, I'd recommend you do it for your own home page or UI.

Engine Room Usability!

What this shows is a list of things that people remembered after seeing the home-page image for 5 seconds. 15 people reviewed my image, and you can clearly see which elements of the home page made an impact. Valuable stuff.

It's interesting to see what draws peoples attention, not necessarily what you'd expect.

You might have heard of Hallway Testing - a cheap and easy way of eliciting feedback on your creations. Simply grab someone who's nearby and make ask them to look at your UI for a few seconds, then ask them some questions about it.

Five Second Test reminds me of this approach. It lets you upload an image, and then shows it to visitors, asking them for their first impression after 5 seconds of exposure.

There are a few tests; you can ask that the user lists the things they remember about your page, or ask that they click on the 5 most prominent things.

Here's a good tip. If you're looking to help a new client with their public facing web site, post up a picture of their landing page on Five Second Test and then give your client a summary of the feedback. It will really surprise them, and makes a great conversation point.

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