Are you waiting? How does it make you feel? Do you feel like you are accomplishing something? Good. That’s exactly what the web designers want you to think.
The illusion of accomplishment
In today’s ultra-fast computing age, scientists have found that you feel “cheated” if your dinner comes too fast — or you feel like they did a bad job when the results instantly appear. So web designers are intentionally fooling you into thinking some real work is going on!
A ubiquitous feature of even the fastest self-service technology transactions is the wait.
Conventional wisdom and operations theory suggests that the longer people wait, the less satisfied they become; we demonstrate that due to what we term the labor illusion, when websites engage in operational transparency by signaling that they are exerting effort, people can actually prefer websites with longer waits to those that return instantaneous results—even when those results are identical.
Buell, Ryan W., and Michael I. Norton. “The Labor Illusion: How Operational Transparency Increases Perceived Value .” Management Science 57, no. 9 (September 2011): 1564–1579.
Mark Wilson at Fast Company writes :
A friendly robot greets me on Facebook. He’s dressed like a doctor, stethoscope and all, here to do a security checkup. So for the next 5 to 10 seconds, I wait as he pokes and prods my account. “He’s really taking good care of me!” I think, when I start to wonder: Are Facebook’s servers really taking that long?
Read Mark’s article at Fast Company but be sure to use your browser’s reader function to avoid spam and stalkers.
This is another installation in my series on “Dark Patterns” … watch for more as we explore the world of dark UX Design.