First-click testing: Pinpointing where the user journey begins

By
Jack Wolstenholm
May 29, 2024
First-click testing: Pinpointing where the user journey begins

Research on performance-based usability testing shows that participants who make the correct first click have an 87% success rate in completing their tasks. The same study found that those who make the wrong first click only complete the usability task successfully 46% of the time. This underscores the role of first-click testing in the user experience.

Every click counts, and the first one sets the tone for the entire user journey. Your challenge is to guide users effortlessly toward their goals from the start by ensuring your designs are intuitively navigable. Harnessing the power of first click testing allows you to pinpoint areas where your designs may mislead or confuse users.

By understanding these critical interactions, you can adjust your design to funnel users smoothly toward successful outcomes. Keep reading to learn how first-click tests can help you enhance the overall usability and effectiveness of your product or website.

What is first-click testing?

First-click testing is a UX research method that allows you to pinpoint what users interact with first when given a specific task to complete. This method is applicable for any product with a user interface, from websites and mobile apps to B2B software for enterprise companies. The goal is to understand what catches the user’s eye and what they consider the most logical starting point to complete their goal.

The process involves presenting users with a design, such as a wireframe, a fully-functional page, or a prototype, and asking them to execute a particular task. The focus is solely on that initial click — nothing else. Tracking the initial click gives you insight into the intuitiveness of your navigation and the effectiveness of your linking structure.

Why is first-click testing important?

First click testing is crucial because it directly influences the efficiency and success of a user’s session on a digital platform. The first click a user makes largely determines their ability to navigate successfully and complete tasks efficiently on your site.

When you understand where users are most likely to click first when trying to complete a task, you gain insights into the clarity of your interface design. This method allows you to evaluate whether the design intuitively guides users toward the correct actions or if it leads them astray.

A successful first click usually correlates with higher overall task success, meaning users complete their intended actions more quickly and with less frustration. On the other hand, if many users click incorrectly, it indicates potential confusion and design inefficiencies that could hinder user satisfaction and task completion. Ultimately, first click testing helps you identify and fix navigational hurdles, ensuring a smoother user experience.

When to run a first click test

First click testing is a versatile and cost-effective method that you can deploy at nearly any stage of product development to refine and enhance functionality. It’s ideal for the following use cases:

Early in the design phase

Conducting a first click test early in the design phase, when wireframes or prototypes are available, is highly beneficial. This allows you to validate the navigational concepts and overall layout before committing further development resources.

Throughout the design process

As your project progresses from concept to completion, first-click testing remains beneficial. Although testing every minor update probably isn't necessary, strategic tests at key development milestones can ensure that each product release meets user expectations for ease of use.

After significant design changes

Reassess the initial user interactions whenever significant changes are made to the interface, such as a redesign or major updates. A first-click test after these changes ensures that new elements or modified layouts still align with user expectations and usability standards.

Post-launch enhancements

If analytics or user feedback after your product launches indicates issues with how users navigate or interact with your site, this method allows you to pinpoint exactly where users struggle. By understanding these interactions, you can make targeted improvements to enhance the overall user experience.

How to conduct a first click test

Follow these steps to conduct a successful first click test that helps you gauge the intuitiveness of your design:

Define your objectives

Start by defining what you want to learn from the first click test. Your objectives will guide the design of your test and the questions you'll ask.

Prepare your test materials

Create the visuals for your test. Depending on the stage of your product development, this could be wireframes, mockups, or live pages. Ensure that these materials represent the user interface to get accurate results.

Participant selection

Select a diverse group of participants that represent your target user base. Use a UX research platform like Great Question to recruit research participants directly through CRM integration or by importing a list.

Need to find users to test with? Tap into a panel of over three million verfified B2B and B2C research participants, right in Great Question. The platform makes it easy to filter, segment, and screen participants to ensure you're engaging the right demographic for your test.

Related read: How to write a great screener survey

Conduct the test

Run the first-click test in an unmoderated, controlled environment where participants can interact with the interface without guidance. Present them with specific tasks and ask them to perform the first click they would naturally do to accomplish each task. Record where they click and how long it takes them to make their decision.

Analysis & iteration

After collecting the data, analyze the results to identify patterns and common issues. Look for areas where users consistently struggle or hesitate, as these might be indicators of design flaws. Use these insights to make informed decisions about design changes and improvements.

3 tools you can use for first click testing

Here's a look at some popular tools you can use to conduct first click testing efficiently:

UXtweak

UXtweak specializes in first-click testing by allowing you to upload designs and create interactive hotspots over key UI elements. You can recruit directly from the platform and set specific tasks for participants, such as ordering a product. The platform's analytics, including clickmaps and heatmaps, help you understand if your design intuitively aligns with user instincts.

Optimal Workshop

Optimal Workshop offers Chalkmark, a dedicated tool for first-click testing that helps you identify areas needing improvement in your designs and wireframes. Regular testing with Chalkmark throughout the design process provides quick insights, allowing you to make informed decisions before progressing too far in the development phase.

Lyssna

Lyssna offers a user-friendly platform for running quick first-click tests. You can personalize the test experience with customized welcome and thank-you screens and easily upload test files using a drag-and-drop interface. The platform also offers various follow-up question styles and provides heatmap results to analyze user interactions.

The bottom line

First-click testing is an essential step in optimizing any user experience. It allows you to uncover critical insights into user behavior right from their initial interaction with your interface. By focusing on where users first click, you gain a deeper understanding of their instincts and needs, enabling you to craft more intuitive and effective designs.

Conducting a first-click test is not just about correcting errors; it’s about proactively shaping a user experience that feels natural and effortless. Start implementing first-click testing into your product development process to create a better experience for your users.

Related read: Preference testing: Evaluating what users like & why

Jack is the Content Marketing Lead at Great Question, the end-to-end UX research platform for customer-centric teams. Previously, he led content marketing and strategy as the first hire at two insurtech startups, Breeze and LeverageRx. He lives in Omaha, Nebraska.

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