Friday, July 8, 2016

Slower by Design

Mark Wilson:

The short answer is no. Facebook actually slows down its interface to make users feel safe, a Facebook spokesperson confirmed in an email. “While our systems perform these checks at a much faster speed than people can actually see, it’s important that they understand what we do behind the scenes to protect their Facebook account,” the spokesperson wrote. “UX can be a powerful education tool and walking people through this process at a slower speed allows us to provide a better explanation and an opportunity for people to review and understand each step along the way.”

If half of Facebook’s billion users spend 5 seconds waiting on this check, that’s 694,444 hours, or 28,935 days of collective time lost. But Facebook isn’t alone. Websites and apps now operate on the magnitude of milliseconds. But such speed can make users skeptical or even confused, so companies are responding by building slower, more deliberate interfaces. Wells Fargo admitted to slowing down its app’s retinal scanners, because customers didn’t realize they worked otherwise, while various services on the web including travel sites, mortgage engines, and security checks are all making a conscious effort to slow down their omnipotent minds because our puny human brains expect things to take longer.

Why is it that Kayak has to slow down its search so people believe it’s working hard to find them the best deals, but no one doubts Google’s quick search results?

2 Comments RSS · Twitter

Matt Deatherage

Because we believe Google has all the results cached as part of its Web crawl, but we think Kayak is making live, on-the-spot queries of airline and hotel Web sites to get the most current prices and we're waiting for that to complete.

Ceri Morgan

If you want fast flight searches, use It's tough for me to use anything else after experiencing it (though I still occasionally use Hipmunk for the timeline view).

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