How to Make Waiting Time Pass Faster by Using Design

TMO Group

Have you ever patiently waited a long time for tickets? And have you ever helplessly waited for opening a web page? This article will guide you how to deal with the waiting and make it faster from designers’ point of view.

Waiting is a by-product of complex systems

Normally, waiting means that there is a bottleneck. At that time, people will not get enough support of what we need. And then negative emotions appears. Some people may think how long they need to wait or will products sold out when it was their turn. So we can say that waiting is a by-product which should be optimized.

Generally speaking, there are two ways to reduce the waiting time. One way is to improve the level of service such as add more customer services or make use of new technology. The other way is to let customers to feel the waiting time is not that long by design. Today we will focus the second way and there are 6 advice on it.

1. Provide a conceptual model

We must provide a clear guide. For example, let users know that why they need to wait and what they need to prepare in order to help them to understand what is happening.

2. Make the waiting looks reasonable

When people have to wait, we should provide reasonable reasons in order to persuade them to wait. If not, they will probably come up with some conceptual models themselves which could be wrong and make them disconcerted.

3. Exceed expectations

When we need to set a deadline, we can make it a little bit longer. Actually people are getting upset at that moment. If the waiting time is shorter than expect, they will turn negative into positive.

4. Keep busy

Although the physical time can be precisely defined and measured, what we feel depends on our psychologic factor. We always feel that time is passing so fast while we are busy doing something. As a result, we can design some interesting things and keep users busy.

5. Fair

One standard in terms of judging the waiting experience is that whether it is fair or not. We probably notice if someone is faster than us and conversely we probably ignore people who are left behind. A psychological experiment shows that even all queues move at the same rate, people still think that they are in the lowest one. As a result, one queue could be the best solution.

6. Positive start, positive ending

Rank in important degree, the main factors in our memory while waiting are ending, beginning and the process. If we create a happy ending, the whole waiting process will be happy even it is longer than expect.

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