While trying to improve your site, it is important to use different methods to evaluate your software’s performance. This week I want to discuss first click testing. I will be using this method the Abercrombie & Fitch as an example.
First click testing is used to measure how easy it is for a user to navigate the site and complete a task. This method is great because it allows designs to pinpoint where users are getting stuck or frustrated. In a study done by Bob Bailey and Cari Wolfson entitled “First Click Usability Testing”, they found that the first click was essential to helping a user complete a task. If the first move was correct, the user had an 87% chance of completing the task, but if the user made an incorrect first move, they only had a 46% chance of completing the task correctly. This method was developed by Bailey and Wolfson when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wanted to improve the usability of their homepage and secondary pages. This was a test developed to help with that process.
Yelp has also utilized first click testing. They wanted to find out if their users could find their “Events” link. The users were presented with the following task:
“You’ve heard that there’s a street festival coming up in your city. You don’t know much about it, and would like to see if Yelp has any information about it.”
They found that 38 participants were able to complete the task. 39% of the users went to the search bar first, 37% clicked on the “Events” page and 16% went to other places.
This method can be used in any phase of the design process, which makes it a great benchmark to see if the product has improved throughout the process or if it still needs tweaking.
How Does First Click Testing Work?
1. Provide a task
During this method, a participant will be given a task to complete. All participants in the study should be given the same task. You can re-do the study if you want to analyze the usability of other components of your site. For the Abercrombie & Fitch site, we will present the user with the following task:
You are interested in finding out the price of a white sweater.
2. Present the site/interface
Once the task is given, the user can be presented with whatever materials are going to be used to accomplish the task. As stated earlier, this method can be performed at any stage of the design process. This means you can present the participant with a prototype, screenshots or even sketches. For our example, we can use Abercrombie.com because this is already a functioning site.
3. Record the behavior
The participant will now attempt to complete the task. It is important to record where they clicked and how long it took them to make those clicks. This timing is crucial in figuring out where users may have gotten confused. On Abercrombie.com, sweaters can be found in the Men’s, Women’s and Kid’s sections, indicated by red circles at the top of this screenshot.
Next, the participant could click on any of the “Tops” sections in any of the respective pages. For this example, let’s look at the Women’s section.
After this, the participant should select “Sweaters”.
The participant should then select the first white sweater that they see and be able to check the price.
After the task was attempted, it is important to talk with the participant about their experience. Ask how difficult or easy they found the task. How confident were they in their choices? This can help with the analysis of their results as well.
5. Analyze the results
This test will be run on multiple participants. After all have completed the task, take time to analyze all of your data. Talk about the discussions you had. This will allow you to decide whether or not the site is functional to your users.
There are many tools that can be used to help you analyze the results. Some of the softwares that can be helpful to you are:
This tool can help show you not only where your participant clicked first, but where they hover their mouse. It provides you with a heat map of sorts to show where the mouses spend most of their time.
HubSpot is a pricer services that offers multiple versions of your site or interface. This can combine A/B testing with first-click monitoring so that you can be able to tell which version of the site your participants respond to better.
Overall, this is a great method to use when trying to test the usability of your site at any point in the design process.
Bailey, Bob. “FirstClick Usability Testing.” Web Usability, 8 Oct. 2013, webusability.com/firstclick-usability-testing/.
“First Click Testing.” Usability.gov, Department of Health and Human Services, 6 Sept. 2013, http://www.usability.gov/how-to-and-tools/methods/first-click-testing.html.
Fontanella, Clint. “A Beginner’s Guide to First Click Testing.” HubSpot Blog, blog.hubspot.com/service/click-test.
“An Introduction to First Click Testing.” UsabilityHub, usabilityhub.com/guides/first-click-testing.
Toxboe, Anders. “First Click Testing.” Learning Loop, 10 Jan. 2019, learningloop.io/plays/first-click-testing.