- made Google a world leader
- makes video games so enjoyable
- is why geeks prefer Notepad over MS Word
- makes using some web apps so frustrating
The feature is : instant response.
In the real world, you touch something and it moves. You don’t have to wait 3 seconds for the universe to calculate the object’s new position. Instant response is what the brain expects. Anytime an application make us wait, it kills the flow state and our enjoyment of the app.
Donkey Kong has it. Does your application?
Think about using a computer for 8 hours every day. Think how long you are just waiting.
- Waiting for webpages to load.
- Waiting for your machine to reboot (arrrrgh).
- Waiting for applications to load (e.g. Photoshop).
- Compile times.
Take these times and multiply by the millions of times you experience them, and you have a lot of your life wasted. This is stealing your valuable time on this earth.
It’s not even useful waiting, because you don’t know when the wait will finish, so you don’t have time to focus on other activities. In the future all UIs will be instant response. Future People will be shocked and saddened to realize that we had to waste so much time looking at progress bars.
So my main piece of advice, from a lifetime of using and building computer apps is – make it faster.
- Make it smaller
- Make it lighter
- Sacrifice unnecessary functionality
- Preload when possible.
Give the user instance response. If you can’t do that, then at least give them instant feedback with some kind of front-end animation, and try to accurately indicate how long the user will be waiting.