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Can a UX Be Slow and Function Better?

November 18, 2017


The title says it all, yet not convincing much, isn’t it? But yes, it is a fact. Speed can sometimes be detrimental when we speak of technology.

47 out of 100 in a population would love web pages that load in about two seconds or lesser and most of them give up if the site takes more than three seconds. The two-second threshold is the critical point; load times below it can leave the users incredulous.

For instance, someone checking his credit score may have spent a great deal of time on the phone just to get one bureau’s credit report. An app makes this process easier, granting him an access to all the three reports in seconds.

Certainly, the app made a difference and was also user-friendly. The effort put up by the designers clearly aced it. However, the users may doubt the app’s result as digesting facts isn’t that easy here. Gathering all three reports, free of errors in a few seconds, bizarre indeed.

Provided, he knows how long it takes for the processing to be done off-app, doubting the speed and legitimacy of the app is perfectly reasonable.

When Slower UX Works

Majority of cases need a speedy UX, a well-known fact. Most of the websites today need more of Optimization. But exceptions include few situations where one could escalate user trust and engagement by slowing down the UX. Here’s where one could use this strategy:

1. Create Security Theater

Image Source: http://www.devlounge.net

Ever wondered how the job of Transportation Security Administration helps you when you fly? Not only do they make sure you travel safe but they make you FEEL the same. Recall filling your taxes with TurboTax earlier this month? The illusion is divine, created by Intuit, making you feel the loading bars triple-check your returns if errors exist though it does so way before you know it.

The whole point of slowing down the process is to let the users know that TurboTax is working on it and users naturally tend to trust it with their sensitive information. Likewise, Facebook builds trust by conducting random security checks which in fact, happened behind the scenes all along. Facebook users, undoubtedly, feel safeguarded.

So, when must one show this slowdown? Say you are dealing with sensitive information (like home address or social security number), or when the customer has initialized a payment to use your service, this slowdown could be fruitful.

Another example where this slowdown could be instrumental is while finding a home on an app. Assuredly, the app wins over the conventional legwork of finding homes manually. Since money and personal information is at stake, slackening the process is imperative. Building that web of trust and promising you safety, the app must explain why it needs your data. Then again, messaging apps don’t work this way. They aim at providing a seamless experience to their users without any hindrances whatsoever.

2. Educate Users about Modern Tech Speeds

Image Source: http://www.artzstudio.com/

What the future had in store for us was the maturation of connected devices, now ever-growing thanks to Moore’s Law. Latency is far out of reach when mobile computing and network speeds have triumphed in being fast in comparison to the past five years.

With an access to spotty internet service, fast operation speeds could itch users if the product even functions correctly in the first place. Old tech and buggy software, being the accusation. The eye scan technology from Wells Fargo left the spectators uncertain of its functionality as it was believed to be too quick. Deliberately slowing down the process, the developers then added scanning and process bars.

However, try educating the users how technology has progressed these years and how your product is matching the speed of current date. Slowing down the product’s capability to match their expectations should be sidestepped.

Facebook, yet again, functions as a perfect example in this case. It prompts the user with temporary notifications in their news feed after an update, letting them know that Facebook is consistently improvising the app speed.

Try including a call to action element in your product, and collect feedbacks from the users. A FAQ section could also be useful in answering their common queries, explaining what you do and how you do something for them through your product.

3. Work within System Constraints

Of course, some devices don’t fashion a fast internet provider. Your product’s end users may live in far-off places, modest or rural residents. Sometimes, your server infrastructure may not be up to the mark.

In such cases, progress indicators can utilize that time to remind users that the product is working on their request; for instance, loading bars. Another illustrative example in this case is that of FirstRand Bank Limited of South Africa where infrastructure was slow and out-of-date. So, they integrated an artificial progress bar to their web interface as an affordable solution.

Imagine yourself in the shoes of the user, staring for more than 15 seconds at a blank screen. You may, perhaps, give up and refresh or try checking your network connection. This only worsens the jam.

If you plan on skipping the fake loading bars, use animations to convince the users that your software is processing their request, as a relief to both your server and users.

4. Speeding Up or Slowing Down?

Image Source: https://netwebdesign.com

Slowing down might as well need some historical context. Tech is moving forth, towards offering faster UX but system limitations and user’s past experiences could be a hitch.

As the time gets expended, users benefit with long-term tech. This eventually leads to the user’s dependency on faster results and so, UX designers may not have to weaken their product speeds. The better the product, in terms of speed and accuracy, the stronger the users trust them. In the meantime, the youth mature, to get accustomed to the best tech experiences in store for them.

The older generation often lags behind when exposed to a faster tech world. And due to this very fact, specific products have their processing speeds slowed down in order to assist others and making them feel comfortable with the whereabouts of the process.

Final Words

Instantaneous results would be the need of the hour once slow systems vanish and the back-end operations may still bother the user. Speed is no doubt an important criterion of estimating any product’s value but users’ expectations must also be duly addressed. The future pulls us towards it, calling for faster results, but slowing down a little will never hinder these results.

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