A brief foray into the “5 second rule” and its applicability in User Experience.
This presentation will brief you in what drives human behaviour and how can we apply a 5 second test to get the best results in terms of ROI to every web page.
5 Second Rule in UX
A brief foray into the “5 second rule”
and its applicability in User
What is the “5 second Rule”?
• In folklore
– It states that
will not be
if it is picked
up within 5
What is the “5 second Rule”?
• In reality
– The texture
– The floor
How does the Human Mind Tick?
What our mind pays attention to!
• One of the key parts of the brain
which focuses attention is the
Reticular Activating System (RAS).
• RAS is best known as a filter,
because it sorts out what is
important information that needs
to be paid attention to and what is
unimportant and can be ignored.
• Because it subconsciously
monitors all sensory information in
the environment around you, it
notices any changes in that
What does RAS do?
• Besides alerting the cerebrum to any changes in the environment,
the RAS also sends signals that have to do with:
– Physical need. When we’re hungry and we see food, we pay attention.
We wake up in the night when we need to go to the bathroom.
– Self-made choice. We decided to buy a new BMW 325 and suddenly
see them everywhere. This effect is also called priming.
– Your name. We notice the name dearest to us.
– Emotion. If something evokes an emotion in us, they have our
– Contrast. We pay more attention to things that are in contrast to other
– Novelty. The brain pays more attention to things in the environment
that are new to a person’s experience.
What is the relation between the “5
second Rule” and “What the mind pays
attention to” with “User Experience”?
5 seconds in website User eXperience
• The 5 seconds rule is used to increase website
conversion and improve ROI via online means.
• 5 seconds is more than enough time for a website
visitor to determine if there is enough quality in a
website to stay, or to leave potentially never to return.
• A critical driver of website success is the ability of the
web app page, to deliver 3 pieces of critical
information in 5 seconds or less:
– Who are you?
– What product or service do you provide?
– Why should I care (what’s in it for Me)?
With the redesigned version of the Donation
content page, users readily recalled the
complete set of donation options with only 5
seconds to view the page.
The second version had much more novelty,
and hence kept our attention much better
5 Second Test in UX
• A brief introduction to fine tune your
landing pages and calls
to action by analyzing the most
prominent elements of your design
Why do we need a 5 second test
• The test is used for evaluating how well the
page communicates the purpose and content
5 second test methodology
1. Evaluate which page you would like to test.
2. Capture an image of the page.
3. Identify test participants
4. Conduct the test.
5. Analyze the results.
6. Make recommendations for conversion
Can also make use of sites like
How to do a 5 second test
• “Expose a participant to an image of a
webpage for five seconds. The image is then
removed and the participant is asked
questions about what they remember seeing
on the page. The participant can also be asked
questions pertaining to the impact of the text
and images on the page. ”
What can it give us?
Quantitative and qualitative data on web apps.
Being fast and easily distributable, it can be deployed to
dozens, hundreds or even thousands of testers in a matter
of hours, or at the most days.
Relatively quick and easy to obtain statistically significant
results that can be organized into charts and graphs for
Takes almost all of the guesswork out of validating if a
product is communicating effectively or not, making it easy
to develop useful conversion optimization
Useful in analyzing exactly how well the product is working
in terms of communicating with intended audience.
• 5-Second Tests Don't Tell Us Everything
– The technique is best when we use it on pages
designed with a single primary purpose.
• The average American sees or hears 3,500
+ advertising and marketing messages a day.
Where all have the 5 sec rule been used?
• 5 sec’s gap between successive login attempts
• 5 sec’s teaser in TV adverts, esply to showcase warnings..
• 5 sec’s blinker ad’s to help navigate through traffic.
• Vinod Khosla uses the 5 second rule on the initial pitches from
entrepreneurs and on pitches their companies give to prospective
customers after he invests in them.
• Introduction to video games to hook folks on.
• The 3-5-7 rule for Email marketing
– 3 seconds to get someone’s attention
– 5 seconds to draw them in
– 7 seconds to deliver critical information
• On all pages which are critical for communicating for a web site or
• Go ahead take risks – experiment with your site.
• Use appropriate illustrations coupled with
minimal text and make up your case.
• Bring in personalization, persuasion, emotion,
nostalgia and showcase trust.
• Get user attention, interest, desire so as to
prompt them to action.
• Content is king, so say the right things.
• Encourage social media based participation.
• Quote, Anecdote, Rhetorical Question!