Major Update coming July 31st

Introducing UsabilityHub.com

On July 31st we'll be launching UsabilityHub.com. Usability Hub isn't much at the moment, just a pair of web apps really. But it is the start of something bigger and better than anything we've done to date.

The goal of UsabilityHub.com is to provide a place for designers and developer to work together, share ideas and help each other improve websites and applications. It's about providing a focal point for all things UX. We want it to be about more than just our applications, we want it to be a place where all designers can learn from each other, and help each other out. In the coming months we'll talk more about what our plans are, but for now let's just talk about what it means for our current applications.

Navflow Beta

Navflow.com beta will be &nbsp;finishing next week.&nbsp;<strong>All existing data will be deleted at the end of next week (23rd July).</strong> Where possible we will migrate user accounts across to the new system enabling you to keep your login in. Part of this migration is migrating our existing Fivesecondtest users. Obviously if there is a clash with your existing 5st account, we'll keep your 5st account in preference over the Navflow beta account.

Five Second Test

We have a completely new Five Second Test which you'll get to see very soon. Whilst we think our new site is better in all regards, we understand that a lot of people really like our existing system. Rather than delete it, &nbsp;we're going to let you continue to use it! The old fivesecondtest.com will be renamed to original.fivesecondtest.com.&nbsp;So if you're currently running tests there, don't be scared that it's all going to vapourise, you can keep on keeping on. Please keep in mind that the two systems are completely separate. Tests created in the old version are not available in the new, and vice versa.

Credit

Users with credit from Fivesecondtest.com will have their credit <strong>copied </strong>across to the new site. &nbsp;This will enable you to continue creating tests with the credit you have purchased on the old site until your credit runs out, at which point you'll need to sign up to one of the new plans (or keep creating free tests using karma!).

As the new site is subscription based, we have to migrated your credit to match the new system. We're using a fairly generous conversion to the new system to ensure everyone gets a good deal. The old 5st had a variable return on credit which moved from a high of around 25 responses per credit down to around 10. This meant that (depending on traffic) $5 credit bought a different amount of results. I thought it was cool, but the consensus was that it was all a bit weird. &nbsp;To keep this fair, all old tokens ($5) will be worth 30 responses in the new system. This means no matter when you bought your credit, you're getting a good value upgrade in the new system. What's more, we're going to let you keep your credit on original.fivesecondtest.com as well! So consider this a warm introduction to our new system!

Accessing old Five Second Tests

One of the big changes we're making is a complete revamp of Fivesecondtest.com. Click tests have been removed as Navflow will now concentrate on our "click tests" portion of testing. Our old Memory test is being shelved in favour of a new form of the Five Second Test which we feel gives better results and is better value for money than our old system. This means that old tests will not be viewable in the new site. Users wishing to get data will continue to be able to get it from original.fivesecondtest.com when we launch. This will be kept available indefinitely. If you really want, you can even continue using the old site.

The future of Usability Hub

What you'll see in the next few weeks is really only the beginning. We've worked long and hard to make fivesecondtest.com more user friendly and more business friendly. We've listened to our users - and to the experts - and we've improved how the test itself works. We've integrated two great products into one set of tools. But we're not finished.

These two new products are really fairly young, and we have a lot of upcoming features post-launch. So if they're not perfect for you right now, we hope in the coming months they will be.

These two applications are just the first in a suite of tools that we call Usability Hub. We have 3 more coming before the end of the year, and each additional tool will be available at no extra cost to subscribers. We hope to make Usability Hub the one stop shop for all things usability testing and design. We've still got a long way to go, but we think today is a big step in the right direction.

Fivesecondtest migration to Navflow system

As you all know we've been very busy building our new app called Navflow. What you may not know is that we've also been rebuilding Fivesecondtest.com as well! The new Fivesecondtest will sit along side Navflow as part of our new system called UsabilityHub.com. There are lot of changes as a result of this move. I can't talk about most of them just yet, but I DO need to give you a heads up about a few things. In the coming weeks we will be migrating a lot of data from the old site to the new site. All your user accounts, karma, credit and tests will be migrated across to the new system. 

A few days before we migrate, we'll turn off the ability to create new tests. You'll still get results for all your existing tests, and you'll still be able to do everything else. We're just turning off the test creation. During that week we'll be migrating all the data across, and we don't want anyone's test to vaporise. Most importantly, we want everyone to have their full quota of results BEFORE we move. There's a very good reason for this...but I can't tell you just yet!

Now, one other fairly major change is coming. We're moving from pay-per-test, to a subscription service. The main reason we want to do this is because as fivesecondtest users we want you to also have access to Navflow. Buying a subscription to one, will give you full access to the other. Our monthly pricing is pretty damned good value too. The best part is that we will allow you to create many tests each month for just a little more than one Gold test costs right now. Not only that but, you'll be able to mix and match your tests, and have much greater control over the number of results you want. Create a couple of fivesecondtests with 30 responses each, and maybe then go create a Navflow test with 40 results. Whatever you need! The best thing about these plans is that unused "value" from one month will roll over to the next month! I'll go into more detail about what "value" means in the coming weeks.

Now...an important notice to people who currently have credit with us! Your credit will be migrated to one of the new plans based on your current credit. Your plan won't automatically renew however. Given that our plans allow value to roll over, month to month, you will still have full access to the full value of your credit indefinitely. You can still use it up whenever you want! Of course, should you choose to sign up to a plan, the new value will be added to your existing total! 

This is all happening in the coming weeks. We'll keep you updated with news and changes! Thanks to everyone for your support, I hope you will enjoy the new Fivesecondtest.com as much as we've enjoyed building it!

Performance Issues and moving host

Hi all! It appears we may have outgrown our "budget" hosting solution. Over the last few weeks we've seen an anomalous increase in timeouts across the site without a corresponding increase in traffic. I'm pretty sure my programming hasn't gotten worse, and I'm pretty sure our users haven't gone feral on us, so the only remaining variable is the shared host we're on. I guess it's a classic case of "you get what you pay for". So we've decided to move house! I'd be more than happy to hear recommendations from the community for a .NET host supporting SQL2008. If you have any suggestions, drop us an email at support@fivesecondtest.com or contact us on twitter! The downside of this move is that there may be some interruption to services while we move house. The upside is that when we're back up, things will be LIGHTNING fast....unless the problems ARE because of my programming...in which case I apologise in advance! Thanks for your support!

Karma

The Karma system is here at long last! It's taken a lot of thinking, a lot of coding, and a lot of tweaking to get this to a point where we're happy with it. Today is the day when I can finally say we're ready to release it! When having a look, please keep in mind that this is only phase one of our system. I can't go into detail as to what else we have planned, but hopefully this is enough to keep everyone happy until "later".

So what is this karma system? 

Well, in a nutshell, we're now rewarding users who do tests by giving them more responses. This sort of happened indirectly before, but now it is very clear and very defined that when you help the community you get rewarded. In the past if everyone did more tests, everyone got more results. With the changes to the payment structure, our "free" users got pretty well burned. We're really sorry about that. The karma system was supposed to happen at the same time, and for various reasons didn't. Well it's here now, and as an added bonus, <i>we're applying karma points retrospectively!</i>. That means if you've been doing a heap a tests for us over the past few months, you'll get all that karma in one lump sum! We even have one loyal user who'll find a stash of nearly 300 karma points!! It's the least we can do to say thanks for your support!

How does it work?

Put simply, you do one test, you earn one karma point. When you get 10 karma points, you can buy 10 more results for one of your tests. Easy! So this now means free tests get can get up to 15 results without you spending a single dollar. Of course, we'd still like you to spend a dollar, so upgrades can only be done once per test.

What's the catch?

There is no catch, but there are a couple of conditions. Firstly, you need to be registered. If you're not registered, you can't earn karma. Secondly, you can only earn 15 karma at a time. This gets reset every 12 hours. Basically, this is to stop folks just clicking through 60 tests without any real thought as to what they're doing collecting all the karma, creating some tests for free and then never coming back to the community. Besides, there's no point in you getting 10 extra results if all the results are garbage! We're far more interested in rewarding regular visitors who frequently contribute to the community. Of course, by doing more than 15 tests, you're still helping out the community, so by all means go nuts!

Mega Karma Chain Super Bonus

We have a couple of extra ways to earn <strong>bonus </strong>karma! If you consistently do 15 or more tests a day, you'll start to earn a Karma Chain Bonus! This bonus increments each day you keep the chain going up to a maximum of 15. This means you could actually earn 30 karma a day! That's enough to upgrade 3 tests! The trick is to come back at least 5 times in a week and do 15 tests, that's when you'll start seeing the chain bonus. 

Community moderation

On top of that, you have the ability to give other users bonus karma directly! In your test results page you now have the ability to reward users by clicking the little green thumbs up. This gives them an extra karma point for that excellent feedback! Of course, if someone submits a garbage response you can always deduct a karma point! Deleting someone's response will quickly have their karma going backwards, so play nice!

Feedback!

We'd love to hear what you think of our new karma system, so please either leave a comment below, send us an email or follow us on twitter. There will be many more features surrounding this including a top 10 list, "credit for karma" and some other things I can't even tell you yet!

Even BETTER value for paid tests

As part of our upcoming Karma system, we've been collecting a bit more information about who is doing your tests. One bit of information we're collecting is referrals. Up until now if you bought a gold test and got 45 people doing your test, it wouldn't matter whether those people were "random" testers or friends of yours that you had sent a link to. This meant that if you sent your link to 26 people you'd essentially be getting 26 less "random" tests. Rather than discouraging this, we now ENCOURAGE it! If someone does your test having come from a link you sent out, we no longer deduct that from your "expected" results. What this means is that if you buy a gold test AND send your link out to 10 people, you can expect to get 55 results instead of 45! By sending your link out, not only are you getting more results for your money, but you're also helping other test owners get more results as well! Everyone wins! Another minor update: We're in the process of ditching "tokens". They'll still be used in the background, but we're reverting to $ credit. Basically 1 token is worth $5. Everything will remain the same, it's just that it will hopefully be less complicated than trying to work out how many tokens you need, how much the cost etc etc.

Questions, Answers and the "Karma" system

We've had a couple of people contact us regarding the changes to Fivesecondtest.com. Not complaints, just suggestions. One user (Christopher) made a great response to my last post. I started to reply but then decided I'd just make a new post instead, as it is well worth the discussion!

You may or may not have noticed the last line of my original post, but it made reference to a "Karma" system. It is pretty much what Christopher described and it IS coming, we just haven't released the exact details yet!

A couple of suggestions have been made, which I'd like to respond to here. 

1. "Why not just set a cap on results to a certain number"

We can't set "hard" caps on tests and responses. It may not be obvious, but the number of responses a test get varies with site traffic. Basically, the problem is that if we have a slow period and we have a hard cap we will end up with tests taking days and days to get all their results, or worse we may end up with no tests "waiting" in the system on a particularly busy day. We can't afford to have people going to go do a random test and be told there are none to do!

In actual fact, when are traffic spikes it is often either just people DOING tests or just people CREATING tests and this makes coming up with a "cap" nigh on impossible. The number of "expected" results per test can vary from 9 responses all the way up to 20 or more (with premium tests being a multiple of that). 

Now, what used to happen was that paid tests "expected" results were based on the average usage for the week. This means that variations to that number would occur slowly over time. When we saw a spike in traffic, rather than paid users reaping the benefits, free tests were "absorbing" that extra traffic (because when there are no paid tests awaiting results, we just grab the lowest free tests). We'd get free tests getting 20 or more results and bronze test (worked out on the weekly average) only getting 22 or 23. 

What we're now doing is making sure paid tests are absorbing that extra traffic, rather than free tests....hence why free tests are now fixed at 5 responses. When we get a spike in traffic, those extra results go to people have handed over their hard-earned cash. Of course, we still need to smooth the numbers a bit so that we have a reasonably consistent number from day to day, so to a degree free tests still absorb some of the traffic spike (at the moment most free tests are getting 7 or 8 results)....just not as much as they used to.

2. "Why don't you reward people for doing tests?"

The karma system (which IS coming soon) will work pretty much how Christopher described it (i.e do X tests and get a free token). But it's not as easy at it seems. At the moment tests have very little "noise" in their results. People are doing tests because they want to help someone else out. By relying on the good nature of people, we ensure that test results are good quality. People are filling out tests because they want to help, not because there is a reward for doing so.

The concern is that if we start giving away tokens for responses, we will be encouraging "noise" (i.e. people doing tests purely to get credits, not to be helpful). So what need to do (for memory tests) is allow test owners to vet their responses. They will be able to discard worthless responses and "reward" very useful responses. The result isn't then just about how many tests you did, but also how useful your comments are.  The problem here, however, is validating "useful" clicks in the click test. We are yet to come up with a good way to reward "good" clicks and deter "bad" clicks....how do you even tell the difference? That is the real stumbling block to the Karma system.

3. "can I just buy a subscription?"

We'd love for you to give us more money! But seriously, we're not sure how a subscription results in better value for our users. Subscription models are great for the vendor, but I'm not convinced they're better for the end user. The big upside for users, of course, is that they don't have to deal with tokens (which we admit can be a little confusing!). The downside though is that having a certain number of tests available per work or month isn't really how we're seeing people work. I don't ever want a situation where someone has bought 4 tests per month, and all of a sudden needs a 5th, but that requires upgrading to the next plan. 

For me personally, the pay for what you use method is much better value for money. The vast majority of our sales are from people who buy tokens in bulk, and use them when they need them. If you need more, buy some more. We've just now included larger token packs to make this a whole lot easier to do this. Of course, if people keep nagging for subscriptions...we will add them! So keep your feedback coming!

4. Last but not least, "can I just see English/French/Chinese/German tests".

Another tricksie problem! There are two ways to look at this problem. Test owners don't gain much value from people doing their test if they can't read the writing in it, and similarly users can get frustrated doing tests in other languages. The trick here is marrying the two together. We want to give the test owner the ability to exclude anyone who doesn't "accept" that language, but we also want end users to be able skip all tests that don't match their language choice. Doesn't sound hard does it?

The problem arises in that most of our test "doers" are anonymous. Beyond checking their browser language we don't know what they do or don't understand. We also don't want to trouble users while registering with too many demographic questions. So the solution at this point is to do a little of both. We'll be adding the ability for registered users to submit their demographic information (if they choose!), and we'll be adding the ability for test owners to exclude all but certain groups from doing their tests. We'll also then have the ability for test owners to filter on that demographic information. We then just need to sort out the anonymous users....

Well, I hope that answers some of the questions floating around! We are still actively making changes, and so your feedback definitely DOES help us decide what to do next. We're both pretty busy on other projects, so changes don't happen quite as quickly as we'd like, but they ARE coming.

Thanks again for all your feedback and support!

A dollar more, but more results for you!

Hi All! We've just made a couple of minor changes in preparation for some larger changes coming up in a few weeks time. The first, is a bit of good and bad. The good news is that paid tests will now get more results than they've been getting! Hooray! The bad news is that it is at the expense of free tests..... Now, now...let me explain! Previously we worked out who got how many results based on the number of tests being created, and the number of responses being made. We simply divide one by the other. Free tests are worth 1, a bronze test is worth 2, silver - 3 and gold - 4. Add up all the responses in the last week, and divide by the number of tests (including the weighted values for premium tests)...that's the number of "expected results". Simply put Bronze tests get double the results of free tests, silver gets three times and gold gets four times. Easy. With the increase in traffic to the site in the past few months, we've had a matching increase in responses to tests. Originally, we'd planned on the basic free test getting 5-6 results, the first level of premium tests getting about 12-15 results and so on. What has happened, however, is that free tests are now getting 12-15 results! In short, free users are reaping the rewards above our loyal paying customers. So, it pains us to do it, but we're capping free tests at 5 responses. We've spoken to a lot of people, and we feel that 5 responses is still enough to give a reasonable indication of a trend in testing. The upside of this is that the results that free users were soaking up will now be redirected out to paid users. Should you like more results at any stage, you can now upgrade an existing test to get more results. Of course, as some of you may have noticed, we've been trialling a "bonus" upgrade to some free users. We'll be ramping this up and upgrading more free tests (for registered users only) to "Gold" tests. Hopefully this will make up for those that feel they're getting a raw deal! If you haven't received one of these yet, hopefully it will be your turn soon. Keep in mind you have to be a registered user to be a winner! The other change we've made is to pricing. Single tokens have gone up $1 to be a nice even $5. Buying in bulk still gives you a discount, but we've now added a 25 and 50 token pack due to popular demand. The cheapest per token price is still $2.50, and this is available when buying 50 tokens. We hope that the increase in test results you will now be receiving makes up for this small increase. As always, we value your feedback, and we appreciate your support! Stay tuned for more changes coming soon, including the long overdue Karma system.

New test options, huzzah!

First up, we want to say a big thank you to all those that have bought premium tests already! We really appreciate your support. The response has been great, and as a result we've rolled out a new set of upgrade options. We now have four levels of tests. 1. FREE - Free tests are still free, and will always remain free. We're not taking anything away from you. 2. Bronze -These up until now were called premium tests. Bronze tests reward you with double the results, and get you your results much faster than free tests. 3. Silver - Silver tests get even more results! They're also prioritised higher than Bronze and Free tests. Most importantly, however, you get to give your test some context by adding a custom question to the start of your test. E.g. you may ask, "Where would you go to sign up?", or "What are today's specials?". This enables you to get a much more focused response from users. 4. Gold - Gold tests get everything Silver tests get, but more of it! In addition, Gold tests can ask an additional question AFTER the user has completed the test. You also have the option to show the test image again (for an unlimited amount of time) to gain more detailed feedback on your design, or choose to hide the image to really test how much your users remember from the five second test! We look forward to seeing how all of you these new tools. Whether it be just to give your test some context, or to asking the user to perform a specific task, we hope these additions will make five second tests that much more useful. As always, we'd love to hear your feedback on these changes, and we look forward to bringing you more soon!

Thunderbirds Are Go

Well folks, after the last few weeks of promising an update the day is finally upon us. Today sees a pretty significant update to Five Second Test both in terms of functionality and aesthetics. While there is a great deal of new stuff going on under the hood (almost a month's worth of full-time work) I'll go over some of the more exciting features that will benefit our users. First and foremost, the site has undergone as significant visual overhaul. What started out as a redesign of the manage page to make it more useful turned into a site wide redesign. We have tried really hard to try and make creating and doing tests more intuitive and effortless than before. Most noticeably the test manage page now offers a great deal more in terms of actually managing tests, offering the ability to share your test links, delete tests and even toggling whether it's public or private after you have created it. The biggest new addition is the introduction of premium test upgrades. Test creators are now able to upgrade a test with purchasable tokens to increase the rate and quantity of responses from random testers. We know give a sumary of site wide test stats for the week right on the manage page. This allows people to see at a glance how many responses they can expect to get based on site activity and how quickly they will be getting them. We wanted to ensure that while creating and running tests always remains free, people who are willing to support us get that something extra. Additionally the test results page now has an extra little bonus. When a registered Five Second Test member helps you out by doing your test, you will be able to return the favour and do one of their tests by clicking on their name. This is the first step towards what we're calling our karma system where users will be able to reward each other when they do each other's tests. Be sure to watch this space as there is still more to come. So far I've only mentioned a few of the new and exciting additions to the site but I don't want to spoil the fun by going over every detail. Instead we encourage you to explore and rediscover the site on your own. As always we appreciate your feedback and look forward to hearing what you have to say. Happy testing!

fivesecondtest.com update coming soon...very soon!

We've been working hard on the latest update to fivesecondtest.com. We've made a lot of changes, many of which won't be visible in the update, but there are some fairly notable changes that WILL be visible in the next few days. The first major change is the addition of Premium tests. Yes, we all knew it was coming eventually! The first thing I have to mention is that our free tests will remain free in exactly the same state that they are now, and will forever remain free! Premium tests, however, give you three benefits (with more to come!). 1. You will receive double the number of responses given to free tests. 2. You will receive your results much quicker than free tests. 3. You get to feel good about supporting fivesecondtest.com! One thing, that hasn't been terribly clear in the past is that tests don't keep getting results forever. Whilst it may seem a little unfair, currently most tests will receive about 12 results. We don't decide this, it is a factor of how many tests are created versus how many responses are given. At the moment, that ratio is 12 to 1. That means for every test that is created today, 12 tests are viewed. The upshot of this is that we spread the love evenly, ensuring that all users get roughly the same number of results. For some people, 12 results isn't enough, whilst for others 12 is plenty. So we're giving you the choice. Upgrade if you wan't, but don't feel obligated! Keep in mind this also about the speed in which you get your results, not just the quanitity! The astute among you may realise that if premium test are getting MORE results, then everyone else must be getting less! You'd be correct. Partially. Another thing we're trying to do in this release, and more so in the future, is promoting the idea of Karma. We're letting you see who is doing your test, to give you an opportunity to do theirs in return. At the moment this is purely to help you help those that helped you. In the future, their will be benefits to your kindness...and yes we ARE watching who is being naughty and nice. Another feature we're adding is the non-repetition of tests. Once you've done a test, you should never see it again. If you do, one of two things has happened... someone has created multiple tests that LOOK the same, or my code is broken...in which case, let me know!! We've now added a really nice manage page. This is a central location for managing your tests. Here you can enable, disable, upgrade, share and delete all your tests. In the future we'll be adding more features here, for example, the ability to get results in your inbox, or subscribe to an RSS feed for a test's results. We haven't changed the actual test process too much, although we've made it a little quicker for people who've seen the instructions before, you won't have to sit through them again. The upload process has been revamped to clean up our front page, and we've changed how we show site activity on the front page. There have been a lot of other little changes here and there, and a lot of changes in the background that will enable us to release some much requested features in the near future. Anyway... this is just a heads up! Matt will be giving another update when we go live, which should be in the next few days! Cheers and thanks for your awesome support to date! Angry Monkeys