When technical performance optimizations reach certain limits, psychology and perception management might help us to push the limits further. Waiting can consist of active and passive phases; for the user to perceive a wait as a shorter one, we increase the active phase and reduce the passive phase of the wait. But what do we do when the event is a purely passive wait, with no active phase at all? Can we push the limits even further?
Waits without an active phase happen quite often in the offline world: waiting in a checkout line to the till, waiting for a bus, queuing in an amusement park, and so on. It is widely accepted that the longer the user has to wait, the more negative the reaction to the wait. User reaction to a wait online is no different from that in the offline world. Studies based on the analysis of more than a thousand cases identify 14 distinct types of waiting situations on the web. Being dependent on our users’ loyalty, we cannot leave them facing a passive wait.
What’s happening in the industry? What important techniques have emerged recently? What about new case studies, insights, techniques and tools? Our dear friend Anselm Hannemann is keeping track of everything in the web development reading list so you don’t have to. The reaction on the first post last week was quite overwhelming, so we moved from a bi-monthly frequency to a weekly frequency (for now). — Ed.
Welcome back to the Web Development Reading List (WDRL) for this week. Instead of the previously announced biweekly schedule here on Smashing Magazine, I will post it in sync with the original WDRL; so, expect content to appear weekly here from now on.
As I sat in my local co-working space, shoulder-deep in a design problem on my MacBook Air, I could hear him. He was on the phone, offering screen-by-screen design recommendations to his client for the project they were working on. When this acquaintance of mine arrived at the subject of a particularly hairy task flow, he said, “Well, these aren’t going to be very savvy users, so we should probably put some instructions there.
If content sits at the top of the food chain, why do we spend so much time talking about the finer points of design? Every day we debate, experiment with and discuss topics that easily fall into the category of aesthetics, enhanced functionality and layout; in fact, relatively rarely do we talk about content. Nevertheless, even though we should concede that content is king in this realm, this doesn’t mean that design should be devalued.