The UX Five-Second Rules
Guidelines for User Experience Design's Simplest Testing Technique
By Paul Doncaster
Publisher: Elsevier / Morgan Kaufmann
Final Release Date: March 2014
Pages: 140

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.



  • 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
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