Why You Only Need to Test with Five Users

by Kevin Godby


Jakob Nielsen wrote an article titled “Why You Only Need to Test With 5 Users” which
argues that, contrary to popular belief, usability testing need not be expensive and complicated. In an earlier paper, Nielsen and Landauer (1993) showed that testing with just five users will uncover about 85% of the usability problems in a website or software application.

Discussion and Afterthoughts

On the ugliness of Jakob Nielsen’s useit.com website: Nielsen outlines his thoughts and reasoning for his “ugly” site design here: Why This Site Has Almost No Graphics. A few web designers collaborated to redesign his site incorporating graphics.

Take-home Points

Usability testing doesn’t need to be some huge, complicated process—just grab a few people and get started!

References and Resources