Transparency is key in most relationships and especially true for a developer/consultant client relationship. But it’s also true within the software itself.
I’m writing this for those people who are in the middle of designing their product or working on development. It’s always best to be clear with your users and explain what is happening at any point in time.
Studies have shown that people are happy to wait for up to a minute on a website waiting for some function to happen as long as there is feedback about what’s happening. If there’s no feedback, then people are happy to wait about 3 to 5 seconds.
This research was conducted by an airline travel comparison website.
They had a problem with people leaving the website while they were aggregating flight deals from all the other websites. People would start to browse and then leave. People thought they were wasting time by waiting.
The website made a decision one day to change their UI and they began to explain to users what they were doing. The UI (User Interface) started to report “retrieving data from here, from there, from this one, from that one and so on”.
This changed the perception of waiting from wasting to saving time. This little tweak allowed people to understand how much work was getting done for them behind the scenes.
So, using little bit of extra information and transparency tells people not only why they should wait but it also explains to them how much time they’re saving by waiting. It frames the waiting period in a different scope and makes it positive for the user because if they had to go and do all those things themselves, how much more time will they be spending?
That’s just one keyway to be transparent, but if there’s something that isn’t working on your site, tell your users. Don’t let them tell you.
Be aware that you can release things with bugs, and you need to be transparent and tell people when things are happening, when things go wrong and communicate everything with them.
Read one of my other articles where I talked about communication is key between your team and yourself. It’s also key between you and your users, and your interface and your users.
Don’t forget to be transparent about providing information. If you’re doing a lot of work for a user and they have to wait for something, then tell them how much work is being done. So, they can reposition themselves and think I’m saving a lot of time here instead I’m wasting a minute.