Google – a simple online usability test

Just the other day I was referred to a site called Five Second Test. The way it was explained to me was that it was a great way to get feedback on the usability of your graphic interface. Being normal, that description didn’t mean much to me either! So I went and had a look for myself. What a goldmine of a find! The idea is simple, and here it is in plain English: You take a snapshot of what you want people to look at (like your website home page, or administration area page, etc). You head over to the Five Second Test website and upload your image. Within a few minutes, you get peoples feedback on your design. See, anyone can go to the website and take these “tests”. As the name suggests, you get 5 seconds to view random images uploaded by people like you looking for feedback. Then you take note of memorable areas by clicking them with your mouse. Once you click, a small text box is created so you can put your notes about that spot. We tried it by uploading an image of our home page, and here’s some of the feedback we received:


1 Anonymous

  • leap go logo
  • com image w/ orange people
2 Anonymous

  • logo
3 Anonymous

  • busy logo
  • word-based logo
4 Anonymous

  • LeapGo logo
  • cool construction picture
  • random content I didn’t get to
5 Anonymous

  • Nice logo… Leap Go I think. It was bright and bold and eye catching
  • This was a graphic… it looked nice and fit the site
6 Anonymous

  • lgog
7 Anonymous

  • Logo Graphic
  • Headline
  • button
8 Anonymous

  • content
  • navigation
  • content
  • sub nav
9 Anonymous

  • logo
  • graphic
10 Anonymous

  • logo
  • graphic
  • main point
11 Anonymous

  • Logo
  • Graphic with people symbols
12 Anonymous

  • people

Based on this information, I can see that we’ve done a pretty good job of branding, which is the main focus of our website. People almost always took note of our logo, and the main graphic in the middle of our page. This is exactly what we wanted. Now, if what we wanted was for people to be focusing on a registration box, or perhaps an area of text, then based on this feedback we would have an idea of where people are looking first, and what to change. Of course, this is only 12 options….but it’s 12 that we didn’t have before and most importantly, they had nothing to do with the design and development of the LeapGo website. That means their feedback is not skewed like perhaps, mine would be.

Now I must warn you that this site is currently in beta, which means “weird stuff may happen for no reason”. We didn’t have any trouble though, and actually taking the tests can be quite addicting and as they say, creates some good karma. So, do yourself a favor and check out Five Second Test.
Oh – and if you need a decent program for grabbing a screenshot of your website or other design project, here are two:
  1. Gadwin Printscreen (free version) – I’ve used this software for years, and will never run a computer without it. When configured the way I like it, I can hit a button on my keyboard, draw a rectangle of any size on my screen, and save it as a high quality jpeg file. Excellent for taking notes, making step by step instructions, and tons of other stuff.
  2. Fireshot (Mozilla Firefox Plugin) – This one is nice because it can take a screenshot of the entire page you’re on, even the part you can’t see because of scroll. That’s a real nice feature and we use it mostly to update our website design portfolio.