COVID-19 Update: We are currently shipping orders daily. However, due to transit disruptions in some geographies, deliveries may be delayed. To provide all customers with timely access to content, we are offering 50% off Science and Technology Print & eBook bundle options. Terms & conditions.
The UX Five-Second Rules - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780128005347, 9780128006610

The UX Five-Second Rules

1st Edition

Guidelines for User Experience Design's Simplest Testing Technique

Author: Paul Doncaster
eBook ISBN: 9780128006610
Paperback ISBN: 9780128005347
Imprint: Morgan Kaufmann
Published Date: 21st March 2014
Page Count: 140
Sales tax will be calculated at check-out Price includes VAT/GST
Price includes VAT/GST

Institutional Subscription

Secure Checkout

Personal information is secured with SSL technology.

Free Shipping

Free global shipping
No minimum order.


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.

Key Features

  • Describes the origins of the method and its usefulness in modern UX design research and testing
  • Conveys the need to structure tests carefully so that time, effort, and money are not wasted, and compiled data is not misleading
  • Fosters an appreciation for the method's outcomes and how they can contribute to the success or failure of a proposed design

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Chapter 1. The Method
    • 1.1 What Is a Five-Second Test?
    • 1.2 The Processes in Play
    • 1.3 Evolution: From the Lab to Online
    • 1.4 What’s Going Wrong?
    • References
    • Recommended Reading
  • Chapter 2. The UX Five-Second Rules
    • 2.1 Proper Use of the Method
    • 2.2 Test Format
    • 2.3 Avoiding the Nonresponse
    • 2.4 Instructions
    • 2.5 Page/Image Visibility
    • 2.6 Number of Questions
    • 2.7 Order of Questions
    • 2.8 Writing the Questions
    • 2.9 Asking About Prominence
    • 2.10 Open-Ended Feedback
    • References
    • Recommended Reading
  • Chapter 3. Testing for Emotional Response
    • 3.1 Common Approaches in Five-Second Tests
    • 3.2 Iterating a Viable Five-Second Test Approach
    • 3.3 Testing the Template
    • References
    • Recommended Reading
  • Chapter 4. Testing for Trustworthiness and Credibility
    • 4.1 Common Approaches in Five-Second Tests
    • 4.2 Iterating a Viable Five-Second Test Approach
    • 4.3 Testing the Template
    • References
    • Recommended Reading
  • Chapter 5. Beyond Web Site and UI Designs
    • 5.1 Displays for Trade Show Booths/Exhibits
    • 5.2 Printed Collateral and Advertisements
    • 5.3 PowerPoint Slides
    • 5.4 Forms
    • References
  • Appendix. Online Five-Second Test Tools


No. of pages:
© Morgan Kaufmann 2014
21st March 2014
Morgan Kaufmann
eBook ISBN:
Paperback ISBN:

About the Author

Paul Doncaster

Paul Doncaster graduated from Bentley University's Human Factors in Information Design master's degree program in 2007, and has since worked on highly-complex UX projects within the domains of course technology, legal and intellectual property. He has written and spoken on many UX topics, including designing for emotional response, online readability, and designing for tablet users in the legal domain.

Affiliations and Expertise

User Experience Manager


"...teaches you everything you need to know about how to design a sound user survey, including how to design sound questions, how to ensure images being tested are accessible, how to properly order survey questions to maximize response rates, and more." --Technical Communication, The UX Five-Second Rules

"... I came away with a clear understanding of when to use the five-second test method, and an even stronger respect for the ability to write high-performing online study questions."--User Experience Magazine, The UX Five-Second Rules

"For those readers who are considering or already working with the five-second test technique, this is a worthwhile book. It is a short and quick read that will help these groups be more effective in working with this method of evaluation." - Computing Reviews

Ratings and Reviews