Just wait…trust me

By | February 23, 2017

Stacked progress bars in red, orange, yellow & green.

Eytan Adar, a professor of information and computer science at U-M, explains why some apps and software packages will build in artificial wait times as a way to improve the user experience. He calls it “benevolent deception,” a term he coined in a paper he published in 2013 with a pair of Microsoft researchers. For example, TurboTax employs a preset animated progress bar to make it appear that the software is busily crunching the user’s tax information. In fact the delay is meant to build customers’ confidence in the product to which they just entrusted all their financial data. According to Adar, more often than not the practice of building in artificial waits is used to smooth out a user’s experience, or help people get used to a new form of technology, or to assure them that they are getting customized results. People, apparently, like to feel that their computer is “thinking” about the task at hand as hard as they are.

Author: News Staff

Contact Michigan IT News staff at umit-cio-newsletter@umich.edu.