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Whether you’re a product manager or on the UX design team, you know that all product professionals throw around words like ‘intuitive’ and ‘user-friendly’, but we often find ourselves uncertain that we’re really achieving these ideals. How do you know if your product really is delivering the simplest, smoothest experience to your users? 

One way to know if you’re headed in the right direction is to conduct usability testing, which is the umbrella term for a variety of UX research methods that involve getting real users to use your products so that you can spot opportunities for a better experience. One of the easiest user research methods to conduct—with a hugely high return on investment—is first-click testing.

What Is First-Click Testing?

Put simply, first-click testing is a usability test in which users are given a task to perform within your product, but rather than actually doing it, they tell you where they would click first in order to do the task that you’ve given them.

So, for example, if your company has a payment app, you might show a group of users a wireframe or your actual app home screen, and tell them to imagine that they want to check their balance. You’d then ask the question: where would you tap first in order to do so? Why?

This testing method is very similar to navigation testing, which is characterized by giving a user an objective and having them demonstrate how they would accomplish it.

What Is The Benefit Of First-Click Testing?

Through their product development research, fellow UXers Bob Bailey and Cari Wolfson more or less proved that a user’s first click is a strong indicator of a successful or unsuccessful user experience to follow. It sounds so simple, so what can you actually gain from such an easy usability test? Turns out, quite a bit.  Knowing more about a user’s first click helps you answer questions like:

  • Are tools and information architecture within our product organized in a way that makes sense to users?
  • Can users take the most important actions within our product quickly and easily?
  • To what extent are our features, tools, and information discoverable for our users?

Why is all of that important? Let’s put it this way: if users guess wrong as to the first action to take in order to accomplish a specific task within your product, that’s a serious setback.

Statistically speaking, some of those users will give up, and others will be confused or frustrated. If we go back to our overall shared goal as product professionals who want to provide an intuitive and user-friendly experience for the sake of our goals and KPIs, we know that these are scenarios that we want to avoid.

If we can get the first click of every workflow easily identified by the large majority of our users, we’re well on our way to creating seamless user experiences. 

Now that you’re all on board, read on to put first-click testing in action on your team.

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How Do You Do First-Click Testing?Here’s Your Step-By-Step Guide.

Step 1: Define your goals

First, as with any form of user testing, you need to decide what exactly you want to learn. You and your team should ask yourselves which features or flows within your product are a priority right now.


If you aren’t sure where to start, consider consulting with your data analysts—where in the product are they seeing drop-off? Or perhaps your marketing and sales teams can give some insight as to which features or flows are high-priority for users, and performing a first-click check on those could yield action items that affect your bottom line.

Once you’ve defined what you want to check, make sure that all of your stakeholders are in the loop and move on to the next step.

Step 2: Gather the materials that you need for the test

If you’re testing your current product as is, that will make it easier. But if you want to test a future concept that isn’t yet implemented, you may need the design team to design and send a screenshot, or for someone on the product team to create a wireframe that you can put in front of your testers.  Whatever it is, be sure to put this in motion since actual design or wireframing can take some time.

In addition to whatever product visual you’ll need to give your testers, you’ll also need testing instructions. The best way to do this is to open up a document and write out the tasks that you and your team identified in the previous step.


Imagine that you’d like to check the performance of your most recent ad on the platform. Please tell us verbally: where would you click first in order to find that information?

Once you have your visual and testing instructions in place, you can move on to the next step.


UserBerry offers some templates to help you draft your test if you’re feeling uncertain about how to communicate your tasks to users.

Step 3: Identify the right tool and recruit your testers

As far as what first-click testing tool to use and how to recruit participants, rest assured that you live in a world with plenty of options.

My recommendation, due to its simplicity and speed, is to choose a platform such as UserTesting, UsabilityHub (now Lyssna), Chalkmark by Optimal Workshop, or UserZoom to conduct your tests. Note that these tools are often used at various points in the design process, so it’s worth checking with your design team to see if your organization already has an account. 

Once you create an account with one of these one-stop-shop usability testing tools, you can upload your test, define, and recruit the users you want to complete your test, and watch and analyze the recorded sessions at your own leisure. 

Some people prefer to conduct these sessions in person or over a video call, which enables them to ask users follow-up questions during the test.  While this is certainly a benefit for many usability testing methods, first-click testing is so simple that it’s important to consider whether it’s worth the time and energy required to schedule time and source your own users.

Step 4: Analyze your test results and create action items

Once you have your recorded sessions—whether you were live with users or not—it’s time to make sense of what you’ve learned.  You can make this fun by getting your team together to watch the sessions together, or you can divide and conquer amongst your team.  Whichever method you choose, be sure to:

  • Make note of the bottom-line results: How many users chose the ‘right’ first click for each task? This is the quantitative part of your results; these metrics aren’t the full picture, but it’s important.
  • Dedicate time to understanding the qualitative aspects of your results: When users did not choose the right first-click, where did they go instead? How did they explain their choice?

After getting your user behavior learnings together, sit with your team and devise your action items. Does your top-line information hierarchy need some work? What can be done to address the problem areas that you observed?  


It’s possible that when you look at your results, you’ll see your problem areas clearly, but won’t be sure what to do about them. Note that there are a variety of other UX research methods that can help you delve into each problem spot. For example, heatmaps, a click map, tree testing, A/B testing, and card sorting are very useful tools for understanding how to make a user’s starting point for any given task more intuitive. Don’t be afraid to define one or more of your action items as more research!

Ready To Get Started?

Hopefully, by now, you have a good grasp on why and how to implement first-click testing on your team. We recommend introducing the idea to other product stakeholders, perhaps by sharing this guide or bringing it up informally at a team meeting so that you can get others on board. 

If you want to learn more about useful user research methods to help you create great user experiences, be sure to subscribe to The Product Manager newsletter, which sends out guides like this all of the time.

Happy testing!

By Cori Widen

Cori Widen currently leads the UX Research team at Lightricks. She worked in the tech industry for 10 years in various product marketing roles before honing in on her passion for understanding the user and transitioning to research.