You’ve got a great idea for a website. You use the WebEden website maker to put together the homepage and are really pleased with the results.
But how do you know that you’ve got the right design?
If you’ve got time, then you can ask a few colleagues what they think of the homepage. Others of you might show it to friends. People tell you what they think. But since you already know these people, what they say will be coloured by your relationship with them. Some of them might say they like it just to make you feel good. Others might give you good feedback on the design because you’ve already told them what the site is all about. In short, you get just a partial view of what a non-independent person thinks of your website.
And the other factor to take into account is: how long did your friends look at your site before they let you know what they thought? The quite scary statistic is that if someone can’t work out what your webpage is all about in less than 5 seconds, the chances are they will leave. We’re all so used to having easily accessible information; if we’re made to work for it we’d rather turn our backs than persevere.
Leaving a site in just a few seconds is called ‘bouncing’, and even the best sites in the world have a bounce rate of around 25%. What’s worse is that a majority of websites have a bounce rate closer to 50%, and many others – even websites of some quite big companies – have a bounce rate of near 75%.
You can view bounce rates using Google analytics. Follow this link for a video tutorial on how to install Google analytics on your website.
Going back to the original problem, how do you get honest feedback about your homepage design, so you can minimise your bounce rate? That’s where a great new service called Fivesecondtest.com comes in.
With fivesecondtest.com, you can upload a screenshot of any page from your website. Once uploaded, your screen shot is randomly presented for 5 seconds to anonymous volunteers. These testers then write down what they can remember about your website having looked at it, and email their reactions back to you.
You can also test out the procedure for yourself, and also check as many designs as you like, before pushing the test out to the volunteers.
Getting this feedback is invaluable. If a majority of testers can’t tell you quickly what your design is all about, then you need to change it. On the flip side, if most of the testers can accurately tell you what your site means, then you could well be onto a winner.
And since this service operates on a volunteer basis, you can try giving your feedback to other people’s designs, by signing up as a tester. This may well help you improve your ability to design a page that appeals to people instantly.
Give your website the five second test and let us know whether you found it useful.