The basics

5 second test template

Observe users’ initial thoughts or behaviours

The basics

5 second test template

Observe users’ initial thoughts or behaviours

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Ballpark is the fastest way to capture high-quality feedback on questions, marketing copy, designs and prototypes using task driven questions.

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The basics


What is a 5 second test?

A 5 second test is a research method that helps understand a user’s first impression of your product design or website within the first 5 seconds of viewing it. It can help you to understand what users like or don’t like, and what stood out to them so you can ensure you’re communicating the right message to the right audience.

Participants are given 5 seconds to view a design before it disappears from view. Immediately after they’re required to answer some simple questions based on their memory of and reaction to the design.

Before the 5 second test begins, you may wish to set the scene for participants and let them know what it is you’re looking to achieve from the test. Or to help you draw unbiased reactions you could decide to withhold this information. The choice is yours.

Creating a successful 5 second test in Ballpark is quick and easy. All you need to get started is an image along with a simple task. The image you test could be an app/graphic design, website, prototype, wireframe, or logo — essentially anything that you hope will evoke a feeling and communicate a message.

Why is a 5 second test important?

Every designer knows that first impressions count.

Today’s users are impatient. We’ve all got a lot of things to do. We want to know immediately if a webpage has exactly what we need. And if it doesn’t? Well then there are thousands more websites to choose from.

Studies have shown that the majority of visitors typically jump off a site within the first five seconds. They won’t wait around for websites and apps to load, and they’ll make snap judgments about brands, marketing intents, and even instructions. So if you haven’t made it crystal clear to visitors what you have to offer within those five seconds then you risk losing them at a vital moment to your competitors.

This is where usability tests like the 5 second test could prove to be invaluable. They provide the insights to suggest improvements, either before or after launch, which will focus on increased conversion and engagement.

Why just 5 seconds?

According to Forbes (2018) visitors to a webpage will only give you a few seconds — in fact, visitors may form an impression of your site in as little as 50 milliseconds. So five seconds is the ultimate amount of time for a good design to communicate its primary message.

We keep talking about 5 seconds but in Ballpark you can actually reveal your image to participants for a total of 20 seconds if you’d like to give your participants a little bit longer to absorb your intended message from the image.

When should you use a 5 second test?

A 5 second test could be used at two different stages in the development journey.

Either, at the very beginning of development to make sure you’re going in the right direction and have understood your audience before the big release.

Or a 5 second test can be useful after you’ve already ran a number of usability tests, have made some positive changes to your designs based on participant feedback, and you’ve now hit the point of preparing high-fidelity designs. You can use a 5 second test to filter out options and proceed with the top-performing result.

What kind of questions should you be asking as part of a 5 second test?

Below are a few example questions you may want to ask as part of your 5 second test:

  • What do you think this page is for?

  • What are the main elements you can remember?

  • Who is the target audience?

  • What was your initial reaction to the design?

The answers to these are very important because if your page easily communicates the right information then you’re on your way to capturing the perfect audience as soon as possible.

What types of data does a 5 second test yield?

This kind of usability test provides both quantitative and qualitative feedback that helps designers and the like optimise a design.

Straightforward analysis of 5 second test results is what makes this usability test attractive. Simply, you can group participants into those that understood the concept and those who didn’t.

You can be confident that you have a successful design which effectively conveys your intended message if more than around 80% of users fall into the “got it” group. If your results indicate a much lower number then you know it’s necessary to make some changes.

Once you’ve received the amount of responses you were looking for it’s critical to sift through the free text collection answers provided to ensure users have not missed the point. Ballpark’s auto-generated AI summaries can help to summarise this feedback for you. It should be able to give you a good indication if something in your design is throwing people off course.

The Ballpark 5 second test template

Our 5 second test template will help you jump straight into testing. First we begin with an instruction step giving you the chance to paint a clear picture for participants of what’s to come and to outline the goal of the survey. This way you can also reduce the risk of any miscalculated guesses.

Then, of course, the highlight of the 5 second test template is the 5 second (or more) image reveal - ta da!

After that, respondents are asked a handful of free text collection questions about what they recall seeing and their first impressions of the design. Free text collection allows participants to really elaborate on their answers providing you with some useful qualitative insights.

As with all the templates available in Ballpark, they are customisable so you can reorder or include as many additional steps as you like such as a rating scale, tagline test and free text collection questions.

Need help?

5 second test FAQs

Are 5 second tests useful?

Are 5 second tests useful?

How often should you carry out a 5 second test??

How often should you carry out a 5 second test??

When is a 5 second test not appropriate?

When is a 5 second test not appropriate?

Where can I find users to test my 5 second test?

Where can I find users to test my 5 second test?

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