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First Click Testing 101: Getting Design Right

Can you say with confidence that your website, app, or software gets users where they want to be, efficiently and intuitively? First click testing can give you that confidence, while highlighting aspects of your product that need refinement.

But, why the first click? Digital products exist in competitive environments, where users have the power to choose alternatives. Finding what they need and completing their goals with ease encourages users to become repeat users and even strong advocates. An often-cited (though admittedly dated) 2006 study by Bob Bailey and Cari Wolfson found that when the user’s first click is correct, their chance of successfully completing their goal was doubled.

Thankfully, first click testing is simple to conduct, especially when using a platform like UXtweak, which has an entire tool dedicated to this method. To get things started for people wanting to conduct first click tests, we’ve created this easy-to-follow guide, which is perfect for anyone involved in creating a website, app, software, or other digital product.

first click testing

What is First Click Testing?

At its most basic, a first click test is the observation of the first place a user clicks on an interface, when given a specific task to complete. The aim of the test is to understand how well-suited the interface is for the intended task.

The observation is typically unmoderated with enough relevant participants to create meaningful quantitative results. The interface can be anything from a promotional website, to single and multi-purpose apps, and even complex software.

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What Else is Measured in First Click Testing?

Obviously, the effectiveness of layout, styling, and text prompts on the interface will be shown statistically in a first click study. In addition, first click testing will also shed light on many other aspects of the study subject, including:

  • The position of user clicks within the interface
  • The time it takes users to make their selection
  • The level of confidence that respondents have in their selection
  • Measurements of how difficult it was to find what respondents are looking for; and
  • Measurements of what users expect after they make a selection.

What Insights Might be Gained from First Click Testing?

Although seemingly simple, first click testing can bring to light fundamental and broad insights, including answers to important questions like the following:

  • Will users know where to click so that they can find their intended destination or start their task?
  • Do the layout and hierarchy make sense to users?
  • Does the information architecture make sense and help the user?
  • Do users understand where they are within the product?

Why should you conduct First Click Testing?

first click testing

Steve Jobs is quoted as saying about customers that “Our job is to figure out what they’re going to want before they do.” First click testing is a powerful tool, which product teams can use to do just that. They can then optimize their product experiences so that users get what they want with minimum thought and input.

The age of Product-lead Growth in which we find ourselves now has made the notion of giving users what they’re looking for, in the most efficient and enjoyable way possible, of paramount importance. Since buyers increasingly rely on independent and crowd-sourced reviews, the user-customer’s experience with the product and their subsequent ratings are critical to product success

There are many further benefits to first click tests.

Quantitative data: Create a set of valuable stats by measuring: the findability rate of primary interactions; task success; user confidence in selections; and the performance of different interface options.

Qualitative data: Understand why users make selections, and what they would expect to happen after they make a click.

Business success: When you help users, you can be more confident that they will be retained, use your product repeatedly, and promote your product to new users.

Product effectiveness: Test how well a design, layout, or message approach works, as well as highlight any confusions and underpin your aim to find the quickest, most efficient path for users to perform tasks.

Product development: Support designers and engineers with data and insights to spark design iteration and engineering choices, as well as validate solutions. Moreover, assess A/B options with the first click method.

Testing efficiency: First click is a reasonably low-investment test method which can be run often and is often reusable. Testing early and throughout product development helps avoid wrong paths, which are more expensive to correct as a product gains shape.

How do First Click Testing Fit with Other Tools?

First click testing should be part of your arsenal of different assessment tools. Like other test methods, it’s not the single bullet answer to all problems, but when used well, it is undeniably powerful.

Compared to…

First click is more about…

And less…

Prototype Testing

Primary tasks

Time-consuming to administer.

Preference Testing

Interaction fundamentals

Concerned with first impressions.

5 Second Testing

Product use

About comprehension.


Specific interactions

Reliant on participants being accurate in their responses.


Task success

About all the clicks during a use session.

When is the Best Time to Run First Click Testing in UX?

First click tests can be used as soon as there are any visual expressions of a product – you can run a first click test on something as basic as photos of hand drawn wireframes. They can then be undertaken throughout a product’s life, including once it’s deployed and in the hands of end users. 

Since first click tests have the potential to bring profound changes to a product’s architecture, there is good logic to say that first click should be used as early as possible. However, some insights will only lead to minor position, style, and text changes, thus the method can be applied to more developed websites, apps, and software as well.

How to Conduct First Click Testing

There are a couple of things you need to know before creating your first First Click Test study.

first click testing 101

UXtweak’s First Click Testing tool.

The Basics of First Click Testing

Most first click tests use the following sequence. Participants will:

  • Be told about a task to be performed; 
  • Shown the interface;
  • Have their behavior and time recorded; 
  • Be asked to answer feedback questions. 

The questions asked after the click are typically all, any, or none of the following, however, you may ask any question relevant to your study.

  1. How confident are you that you made the correct selection? 
  2. Why did you make this selection?
  3. How difficult was it to find what you were looking for?
  4. What would you expect to happen after you made this selection?
  5. Do you have any further feedback?

For the first question (about confidence to click), the answer is usually given on a scale of 1 to 7, from least to most confident. For each of the remaining questions, the answer is given in a text area where the respondent can enter sentences.

For the test, ideally… 

  • The participant panel is reasonably large and reflective of real users;
  • There would be no more than 5 different options being tested at once;
  • If different options are being tested, they are presented randomized, and; 
  • Any existing interface is tested at the same time in the same way as any new concepts

first click testing

How to Create a Fist Click Test

  1. Think about the tasks to be tested and compare them to your understanding of the problems that users want to solve. Are you testing the right thing?
  2. Define the tasks and scenarios you are going to test
  3. Starting with the Home screen, confirm the optimal and other correct paths to task completion
  4. Write a short test plan, including: a list of the visuals to be tested, questions to be asked, an outline of the method, what resources are required to run the test, risks to the validity of outcomes and how they will be dealt with, and what outcomes will be produced
  5. Prepare images of the screens you are going to test

Using UXtweak to Run Your First Click Test

  • Go to uxtweak.com and sign up for a free account or sign in. The free plan allows you to create the test, and you’ll only pay for responses.
  • In the UXtweak dashboard, in the left sidebar, hit First Click Study, and select New First Click Study.

first click testing 101

  • In the main content area, with all the study details, hit the “+” symbol in the Design section to upload your design images

first click testing 101

  • In the Task Text section, write the task instructions for the respondents.
  • Hit the Messages tab to check or edit the Welcome note which is there by default.
  • If you would like to add additional questions, hit the Questionnaire tab. This is similar to a tool like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms, where you can create different kinds of questions, including multiple selects, text areas, and scales.

You’re all set! To get responses from participants:

  1. Copy the link to the study and share it anywhere;
  2. Hit Recruit Participants on the left side panel to use the Respondent Widget and recruit real website visitors, and/or;
  3. Use the UXtweak Panel to have thousands of respondents participate in your test.

You can check out an example of how the study looks like in our First Click Testing demo.

Creating a First Click Test UX Report

A well-considered report will give your study validity, while making the outcomes clear for everyone in your audience. This gives it the maximum potential for impact on your product. We suggest including: 

Headline number graphics and data visualizations

  • The visualizations and data, which are easily exported from UXtweak
  • The percentage of correct clicks and incorrect clicks
  • The confidence level of correct ticks and incorrect clicks
  • The most common incorrect clicks

first click testing 101

Qualitative observations

  • An outline summary of the themes observed in the answers to each qualitative question, separated for both correct and incorrect choices
  • The most prevalent correct and incorrect expectations from your questions
  • A section highlighting any insightful comments given by respondents

first click testing 101

Statistical inferences and compromises

  • Draw attention to any high percentages, correlated with heatmaps and times to draw likely conclusions
  • A short outline of any compromises to the test, such as language confusions

Check out an example of how UXtweak’s customized PDF reposts look like!

Start First Click Testing Now!

In this article, we covered every aspect of first click studies in some detail. But don’t get the wrong impression: first click is a very simple method to set up and use. You can start with rudimentary wireframes and build a test in less than 10 minutes, complete with respondents in UXtweak. While simple, the method has the potential to fundamentally improve products, thereby creating next-level experiences, which users increasingly expect.

Register for your free account at UXtweak and create your first First Click Test study!

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