Can Waiting Time be Turned into a Positive Experience on the Web?

ux design, uxIn today’s fast paced society, waiting has become something that many of us like to avoid wherever possible. This is just as true on the web as it is in the real world. Studies have found that we are not only much more aware of the passage of time (or apparent lack of it) when waiting, but the more we have to wait, the more we focus on counting minutes that end up seeming like hours. Of course, sometimes having to wait is unavoidable, so just how can this experience be turned into something positive?

Firstly, it’s important to identify a few rules that apply when we wait. Apart from time passing slower, there are some key points that standout. Uncertain and unexplained waits tend to feel much longer than ones that have a time limit or reason. We are also more likely to wait if we know we are going to receive good service (or a good product) at the end. Both of these aspects are fundamental when it comes to transforming our waiting time into something positive, and a number of web design companies have already implemented inventive ways of doing just that.

By addressing the two aspects of unknown waiting time and unexplained waiting time, a design agency can ensure that customers stay interested and browse a site for longer. Some ways of achieving this include adding simple solutions such as a large, clear progress counter, or simply displaying what is being loaded while the visitor waits. This is a great way to balance sites that offer high quality, elaborate features. These features often enhance the user experience, but inevitably take some time to load. A distraction can be the ideal antidote to a boring waiting process. Some sites for example, incorporate a small mini game as a time sink while the loading takes place, or utilise an amusing loading image or progress bar.

Waiting times can also be used to build brands by using recognisable loading images associated with a company.

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