Website and interface designers biggest challenge is to ensure that users understand what they want to communicate through their website or application. For example if you build a website you would want to know if the design of your website actually says or sells what you want it to sell. How would you do that?
This is where the service at fivesecondtest.com comes in handy. Fivesecondtest.com is based on the 5 second test principle which is supported by Usability Interface Engineering. UIE is a leading research, training, and consulting firm specializing in web site and product usability and was founded by Jared M. Spool. The website shows a image (might be a web page or an interface) for 5 seconds and evaluates as to what the user remembered about the image. Five seconds might not seem much but people usually form opinions or make decisions in the those first five seconds specially in case of websites.
HOW IT WORKS
The website provides a simple service which allows you to upload an image of your interface. Once it is uploaded a link is generated which you can share with others whom you might request to take the five second test. When the users (those who take the test) click on the link they are shown the image you uploaded for 5 seconds. They are then taken to another page where they are asked to list five things they remember from the image they saw and submit the information. The results are submitted which are mailed to you. The results help you analyze as to what visitors to your website would remember from your interface. Based on the feedback you can redesign and test the new design again.
I have created a test. I would be grateful if you take the test at http://ping.fm/b94uv
Critics might argue that a service is not needed for this and that what can be accomplished in lesser time is done over a period of time. But then fiveminutetest.com makes the whole testing process fun to do and also helps your in maintaining records of the tests.
Once can also expire or retire a test after some time. The service is being managed by User Interface Engineering who are pioneers in usability testing. The website also gives an example of how the service was used to tweak the look of the Red Cross website so that visitors remembered donation options within 5 seconds of visiting the website.