Research studies have shown that if a web page takes longer than three seconds to load or retrieve the requested information, users will not wait for the page to fully load. If a long wait is really necessary, user experience designers may display an animated progress bar to indicate the time remaining to wait. Knowing how much longer to wait, users think the wait is not as long as it really is.
Travelocity, a popular travel booking e-commerce site, makes waiting a bit interesting. You search for air ticket fares, hotels, rental cars, etc. When the results come back, you will see items progressively display on the screen. First, it loads the items and then the prices. What is intriguing is that the prices are loading in descending order, meaning that you see the highest prices first and then the lowest prices last.
People in general don’t like to wait. But in this case, you would like to “wait” as long as you can to see the prices going down, like from $2,000 .. $1,500 … $1,000 to say $500. How nice! It may be psychological to entice buyers as they see the prices dropping rapidly to a comfortable level and make them feel like they are going to get a great deal.
So user experience designers need to explore ways to make wait less frustrating or annoying. If your intent is to make your application enjoyable and pleasurable, then you’ll come up with innovative and creative ideas.
Ideas to Streamline Wait Time
- While loading data, the application can display information useful to the user. For example, while installing an application, the screen can display information on how to get started with the application.
- Commercially speaking, the screen can display advertisements to generate revenue.
- Identify new technologies to help retrieve data faster. Performance improvement is a direct way to reduce wait time.
Please note that no matter how smart you are to improve the wait time, excessively protracted wait is never good. So if the wait is really lengthy, you will need to reduce it to avoid users clicking on the Back button or close the application completely.