First Click Testing

Learn about first-click testing

First click testing is a User Experience method for measuring the usability of a website, app, or design. The first click testing method can be performed on any functioning website, a prototype, or a wireframe. In simple terms: First click testing = testing to see where users click first. 

First click tests can be run on any of the steps while making a website because as the website is being created, they can figure out problems and find solutions. It also gives creators the freedom to test from an early stage to the final and live interfaces. 

First click tests show the designers and creators where the customers go first. The test can show you whether your customers can find what they are looking for quickly and efficiently when they are on your website, and if they can’t, you find out where they clicked first instead. 

Below is a thermal map example of how to represent first click testing on a site.

First Click Testing: How and Why to Use it to Improve Usability

How does it work? Simple. Participants in this test are given a task. For example, it could be a task such as “Where would you click to find this product.” The participants are then given the website and recorded to find out how long it took them to click something and clicked first. After the physical aspect has been completed, you can further investigate why they clicked a specific button is to ask and converse with them why they chose to do what they did. (“An Introduction to First Click Testing.”) 

Research done by Jeff Sauro shows that participants that click down the correct path on the first click will complete their task successfully 87% of the time. In contrast, participants that click down the wrong path on the first click will only achieve their task 46% of the time. (“First Click Testing.”) 

This test doesn’t have to be just one task; many creators ask their participants to do at least ten different functions to learn about multiple various problems at once. 

To get the best feedback from first click testing, you need to understand how to ask the best questions. For example, instead of asking, “Where would you click to choose the color of your bedsheets?” Ask: “Here is a page full of bedsheets. How would you go about buying sheets for your parents or siblings?” This way, you have the participant thinking and figuring out how to use the site. 

The images below represent the different examples to asking the bedsheet question. The top image is for the phrase that would be too easy for the participant to complete and you wouldn’t learn anything, while the second image makes the participant search and use the site.

Another example is instead of asking, “Where would you click to find out which dates are available for the movie tickets?” You should ask: “You want to get tickets to see The Wizard of Oz on the 17th of November. How would you do that?” 

Besides discussing with participants after the test is complete, another step you could have them do is rate their confidence levels after each task. For example, once they’ve completed the job, they should rate how confident they were finding the correct location. This scale also shows you where navigation problems occur. Timing how long it takes users to complete the task is another must because the participants can be confident they found the correct page; if it takes them too long, that’s another issue that would need to be addressed. (“Getting The First Click Right.”)

Although first click testing is essential during the final design stages, they are crucial during the initial design process. By running first click tests during the early stages, you can gather valuable information into what works and what doesn’t before committing more resources. Those resources include; time, money, and employees. Some of your site’s other aspects that first click testing can help is deciding between what kind of icon you want and where to locate it. If you have two different site designs, you can quickly learn which design users prefer, and if you’re going to implement a new icon, for example, a search icon, to the site, you can have the users tell you where they want the icon to be located. (“Learn about First-Click Testing.”) 

Many companies and creators decide to use first-click testing because it is inexpensive. There are many ways to track clicks once the site is live. Many services will follow the clicks for you.  These services will show you how often users click a specific button or hover their mouse over a button, unsure of where to go next. These services help you track the path users use and improve the speed of getting from one page to the next.  (“First Click Testing: How and Why to Use It to Improve Usability.”) 

Here is an example of what a first click test could look like. Feel free to do it and have first-hand experience doing it: First-click Demonstration Test.

First click testing is an inexpensive user experience method that can solve issues before the site goes live. The earlier in the design process, first click testing is used, the better the outcome will be. Users will have an overall better experience if these tests are done at every step of the design stage. Of course, it’s not guaranteed, but you will have a better outcome if you do this test throughout. 


Affairs, Assistant Secretary for Public. “First Click Testing.”, Department of Health and Human Services, 6 Sept. 2013,

“First Click Testing 101 – Your Guide To Click Testing.” Optimal Workshop, 26 Oct. 2020,

“First Click Testing: How and Why to Use It to Improve Usability.” RSS, 29 Oct. 2020,

“First-Click Case Study.”,

“Getting The First Click Right.” MeasuringU,

“An Introduction to First Click Testing.” UsabilityHub,

“Learn about First-Click Testing.” Optimal Workshop, 8 Mar. 2020,

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