5 seconds is not enough for your designs?

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 The user has made up their mind about your design. Myth or reality?

Is it really possible that we can make a first impression of a website in 5 seconds?

Let’s flip that question around and ask it from a designer’s point of view — is it realistic to expect users to understand our website within 5 seconds?

Well, apparently, according to numerous sources (UIE.com, MeasuringU.com, TNW.com, Distilled.net) 5 seconds is enough and 5 seconds is the de-facto standard for every website. To web designers, this is known as the 5 second test and it has been around since 2004 (Perfetti at UIE.com). I’m not sure about you, I’m not sure about you, but when I first heard of this rule I was skeptical.

How can we disregard the fact that every website is different? What about individual differences? Do people focus on the same areas and scan a website in the same way? It’s crystal clear that this 5 second test needs examining because there’s nowhere on the internet where anyone explains why the it has to be 5 seconds.

The reason I’m writing this article is because I DON’T GET IT! Why 5 seconds? And it’s not just about testing websites, it’s everywhere. Why does Youtube let you skip ads after 5 seconds? Why is there a 5 second rule for food that has dropped on the floor? Theres even a pop band called 5 seconds of summer!

My desperate determination led me to study this topic for my Masters dissertation. I’ve just finished creating the experiment and uploaded it to: www.uxstudent.co.uk/research/ .

I’m really excited to share it with you because I want see if the results are different if people are given more than 5 seconds or less than 5 seconds. The experiment is less than 5 minutes long and has 3 questions. Oh and by the way, at the end there is a prize draw for £30 / $47 Amazon Gift Voucher.

A win/win proposition — you get to help to improve the world and get a chance to win some freebies.

Aren’t you curious?

If so, please take part! I really appreciate any support as you are would you not only be helping to satisfy my curiosity but also helping me to complete my Masters degree.

P.S: I will make a new post once the dissertation report is out so you guys can see if the 5 second rule (at least for websites) is any good.