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First Click Testing

First Click Testing examines what a test participant would click on first on the interface in order to complete their intended task.  It can be performed on a functioning website, a prototype or a wireframe.

Why the User’s First Click is Important

Successful websites take users’ tasks into account upfront.  First Click Testing allows you to evaluate the effectiveness of the linking structure of your site, including the navigation, to see if users how to get around the site and complete their intended task.

Jeff Sauro of Measuring Usability cites research supporting the importance of First Click TestingSite exit disclaimer It states that:

  • A participant who clicks down the right path on the first click will complete their task successfully 87% of the time.
  • A participant who clicks down the wrong-path on the first click, tends to only successfully complete their task 46% of the time.


As with all usability testing, it is best to assure that your participants are drawn from the target audiences for your site. 

  • When creating tasks, focus on providing the participants with a problem to solve; “You are interested in finding out how much…how many…where to…” to foster a more natural interaction with the site.
  • Make sure you know and have documented the correct path to compete each task, both for yourself and for your observers.  This will simplify note taking and transcription.
  • Track each click.
  • Time how long it takes the user to make this click.  Taking a long time to make that first click may indicate an issue with navigation that will need to be monitored or address.
  • After each task, assess whether the participants feel they were able to find the correct information using a satisfaction or confidence scale.
  • Next assess the ease or difficulty of completing each task.  Using response scales here will aid analysis as well, but consider free response options as well to provide additional context.

Though this testing can be done with observation alone, recording the sessions is recommended.  There is software available which can assist you in tracking clicks and creating heatmaps of the activity.

Best Practices

When designing a first click test, consider the following:

  • Thoroughly pilot prior to testing to assure that note takers/data loggers are comfortable with both the optimal path and documenting click by click navigation.
  • It would be best not to tell the participant they are taking part in First-click testing.  This may seem obvious, but it may be worth mentioning.
  • Consider starting each task from the home or base screen for this test – thus limiting the number of possible wrong turns the participant might make on subsequent tasks.