UX Design 7 min read

A Beginner’s Guide To First Click Testing

First click testing: featured image

What is first click testing?

First click testing is a method that provides an insight into how user-friendly an app, website, or software is. It essentially tests where the user clicks first to measure usability and determines how easy it is to complete a given task. 

What is first click testing: A hand holding smarphone in one hand and a pen on the other, a laptop in the background

Unlike web analytics tools that only tell you where the user clicked and not what they were trying to achieve, first click testing allows you to understand the user behavior around each task separately.
First click usability testing was introduced in 2006 by Bob Bailey and Cari Wolfson. According to their findings, if the first click is correct, the chance for users to complete the action correctly is 87%, opposed to 46%, if the first click goes wrong.

How does first click testing work?

During first click testing, the user is provided with a task and an image of an interface and is asked where they would click first to complete the given task. 

The position of the click, along with the duration they took to make the click is recorded. The reason why they clicked in where they did could be collected through further feedback.

This test can be done using screenshots, wireframes, prototypes, and sketches- right from the early stages of the design process to the final designs and live interfaces.

When and where to to first click testing

Why should you use first click testing?

Let’s see how first click testing helps an organization to achieve its goals.

  1. Customer success

Giving customers the satisfaction they expect is the first step to a brand’s success. First click testing helps in optimizing the interface for a better user experience. 

A user-friendly design is more likely to take the customers towards their final action compared to something that creates confusion among them. 

  1. Reusable testing

One of the greatest advantages of first click testing is that the same test can be reused throughout the development process. It provides the developers a clear-cut idea of the success rate of the product

  1. Informed decision making

While a participant is asked to complete a given task, first click testing also records the time taken for the click. Alternative designs could then be made by making a comparison between the time taken to complete different tasks. 

The interface that yields the fastest completion rate can then be chosen. 

When to use first click testing?

When to use first click testing

First click testing is an inexpensive method that could be used to test which design will work best for your brand.

This testing method could be used on a wireframe, which means the app or website doesn’t even need to be existing at the time of testing. The users are asked to demonstrate where they are most likely to click if the buttons were active.

Taking the first click testing at each stage of development is not necessary. Testing conducted during the initial stages of development tends to be less expensive than the testing conducted during the final stages of development. 

Keeping an eye on the analytics will help in implementing the first click testing at the right time. If the analytics tool shows high bounce rates, low conversion rates, or more page time, it could suggest navigation problems, which could be fixed through first-click testing.

How to create a first click test?

Following are the steps that could be followed to create a first-click test.

Steps to conduct first click testing
  1. Present a task

Provide the user with a task. Make sure that they get to see the interface only after providing them with the task so that the reaction time could be recorded. Choose the task by analyzing your customer journey map that shows various roadblocks. 

Present the customer with a broad, simple, and relative task. For example, 

“Please click where you would click to add a product to the shopping cart.”

  1. Display the interface

Once the task becomes clear to the customer, show them the website, app, or software. While conducting the first click testing, the interface doesn’t need to be in the final stage. Depending on where you are in the development process, it could be a prototype, product screenshot, or even a wireframe sketch.

  1. Record user behavior

Once the interface is displayed, record the user’s actions. Two metrics could be analyzed; where the user clicked and how long it took them to make the click. 

These two metrics measure the difficulty level of the task. After conducting the testing on different users, the usability of the product or feature can be determined.

  1. Gather feedback

After the testing, survey the users to find out why they behaved the way they did. If any users clicked on a least expected area, ask them the reason. If any users took longer to make the click, ask them whether they faced any confusion. 

A system usability scale can be used to gather feedback in a more perfect form.

  1. Analyze your results

Begin with the percentage of users who were unable to complete the task. If the percentage seems so high, determine where they clicked and why they did so. Consider the demographics of these users, and come up with potential changes to satisfy this segment of your target audience.

For the users who completed the task, determine the time taken to make the click. The less the time, the more user-friendly your design is. One of the easiest ways to do this is to ask an employee to do the task. If both the employee and the user take almost the same amount of time, then the feature is easy to use.

Key benefits of first click testing

Having an idea of where people are likely to click greatly helps in product designing. Clicks that occur in the least expected areas highlight confusion among the users and can be kept in mind for future design processes. 

First click testing gives an insight into the expectations of users, particularly for common interface elements such as menus and buttons. 

Recording the time taken for users to make the click and comparison among them help in determining the usability of a particular product or feature. 

How to track clicks?

First click tracking tools - Usertesting, Whatusersdo, Enroll, TrymyUI, Testingtime

First click testing can either be done in person or by using software, depending on the budget, number of responses needed, and the amount of time you have.

Many tools can be used for tracking clicks. They could show you not only where the users click but also where they mouse around in search for the next thing to click. These testing tools could also tell you the most common pathway the users take to complete a given task. 

You can also use testers who represent your target audience. There are services that can provide paid testers from whatever demographics you require. Some of them are given below.

Questions to ask participants 

After deciding the primary research question, choose the questions you’ll use to guide the testers. One of the smartest ways to get accurate results is by encouraging the testers to behave like users by providing them with a task. 

For example, replace “Where would you click to choose your shoe size?” with “Here is a page full of shoes of different sizes, how will you buy the one for you?”

Some of the tips to follow while preparing the questions are as follows:

  • Avoid using questions that already have hints to the answers. 
  • Avoid using jargon and technical terms.
  • Do not assign more than ten tasks as it could tire the users.
  • After the completion of the test, do not disclose the right answer. Users shouldn’t feel like there is a right or wrong answer.

Some of the problems that could prevent the users from making the right click are:

  • Counterintuitive menu labels
  • Confusing navigation pathways
  • Misleading labels
  • Buttons that are hard to find because of their color or size.

How to analyze your test results?

The first thing to assess while analyzing the test result is whether the users clicked on the expected place or not.

By observing the user pattern, one could redesign the interface so that the user journey will naturally flow from one thing to another. A cluster of wrong answers in the heat map could suggest confusion generated among the users while accomplishing the given task. 

Clicks could be measured in percentage if the number of clicks possible on a page is figured out. Using percentages instead of the count of clicks, different results could be easily compared.

Measuring the time taken to make the click is another important factor. Users taking a relatively long time indicates confusion. On the other hand, if the users reach the wrong option quickly, that could suggest something that looks so much like the right option so that they don’t see the right option.

Softwares used for first click testing

Softwares and tools used for first click testing
  1. UsabilityHub

UsabilityHub is a tool that could tell us so much more than where the user clicked. It provides click cluster maps that display customer answers to follow-up questions when you hover over a cluster. 

Tools used for first click testing: UsabilityHub

It also provides a funnel visualization tool that could help us understand where the users drop off most frequently on our live interface.

Price: Starts free, up to $398 per month.

  1. UserZoom

UserZoom is a product testing tool that defines multiple parameters during testing. These parameters are then combined into one single report that displays a range of metrics on your click test. 

This allows you to measure one scenario for a variety of metrics other than just click placement and timing.

Tool used for first click testing: UserZoom

Price: Variable

  1. Optimal Workshop

Tools used for first click testing: OptimalWorkshop

Optimal Workshop is a tool that is used to determine the first impression of a design. It provides feedback on interface layouts and makes it easy to create first-click testing. 

While using this tool, you only need to create the task, and the tool will do the rest for you. This way, a lot of time could be saved.

Price: Starts free, up to $166 per month.

  1. HubSpot

HubSpot offers unique content staging and preview tools that simulate a live version of your website or email. This tool allows you to run A/B  testing on web pages and emails to determine which design performs better on the target audience. 

Tool that support first click testing: Hubspot

Manual first click testing can be used through HubSpot’s click map tools

Price: Starts free, up to $3, 200 per month

Aparna Subhash


Aparna Subhash

Aparna, one of the content marketers at WowMakers, is a barely five feet tall, tiny, chatty, emotional being who found her love and home, both in words. She loves to explore new opportunities with a warm smile and a happy heart. UX and technical writing are her newfound favorites. Apart from art, she has a thing for fashion, cooking, memories, and anything aesthetic. Also, the easiest way to please her is a hand-written letter and a nice beach view.

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