The UX Five-Second Rules

Guidelines for User Experience Design's Simplest Testing Technique


  • Paul Doncaster, User Experience Manager

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.

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Book information

  • Published: March 2014
  • ISBN: 978-0-12-800534-7

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. The Method

Chapter 2. The Five-Second Rules

Chapter 3. Special Topic: Testing for Emotional Response

Chapter 4. Special Topic: Testing for Trust/Credibility

Chapter 5. Outside-the Box Uses