5 second memory test

Posted: September 27, 2010 in Online tools
Tags: , , ,

Here is a tool (free, if I understand correctly) that enables you to collect data about the things people remember about your website after looking at it for 5 seconds.

Why do you think this type of memory test can be helpful?

Why perform the test after 5 seconds and not 7, or 8, or 10?

In the research protocol I created (WEA – Website Experience Analysis) I recommend measuring first impressions. I measure first impressions immediately after the first click off the home page. That is, as soon as the person clicks a link, I stop them and ask them to answer a couple of questions (see below). I figured that rather that imposing a standard (and random) amount of time, I better give the person enough time to figure the home page out. Different people will take different amounts of time, and different sites will require more or less time from the same person. I assume that once they’ve clicked that first link, they have formed a basic idea and orientation of the site.

The items I ask participants to answer are based on B.J. Fogg’s prominence-interpretation theory (pdf) and come in pairs. Here is the pair for first impression:

1. My first impression of this Web site is:
(very bad) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 (very good)

2. Please describe your first impressions of the Web site. In your description, point out those Web site aspects upon which your first impressions are based.

How does the WEA assessment of first impressions compare with the 5-second memory test this tool enables? Are they assessing similar or different things? What do you think about the amount of time you allow site access before making the assessment?

  1. hanjunxian says:

    I can hardly remember anything of the web page within 5 second. OMG

    • Mihaela says:

      you, too, have problems with working memory?

      • mystev says:

        It might indeed be hard to remember some type of information after five seconds experience with a site, but first impressions are certainly possible. I think first impressions are crucial inputs for user centeredness and any additional time may erase them with cover-ups from subsequent impressions.