One hidden factor powerfully influences the way users react to your software, hardware, User Interfaces (UI), or web applications: how those systems utilize users' time. Now, drawing on the nearly 40 years of human computer interaction research--including his own pioneering work--Dr. Steven Seow presents state-of-the-art best practices for reflecting users' subjective perceptions of time in your applications and hardware.
Seow begins by introducing a simple model that explains how users perceive and expend time as they interact with technology. He offers specific guidance and recommendations related to several key aspects of time and timing--including user tolerance, system responsiveness, progress indicators, completion time estimates, and more. Finally, he brings together proven techniques for impacting users' perception of time drawn from multiple disciplines and industries, ranging from psychology to retail, animal research to entertainment.
Review By: Peter Gabris 11/24/2008Have you ever heard about the time-anchor matrix? Do user complaints about slowness of your application bother you? Then grab this book and read it! Author Steven C. Seow is a forensic and experimental psychologist working for Microsoft as a User Researcher. In this book, he explains why users complain about the speed of an application even if a stopwatch clearly shows that this application runs faster than the competition. Moreover, you will learn neat tricks to turn around user's perception without actually speeding up the code.
The applications built by the company I work for are reasonably fast. We use the most recent technologies and are meticulous in design and best practices. Still, after reading this book, I went and changed the way reports are presented. Now the redesign of a file upload process is on the drawing board. Those are changes most people like--change that has a lot of impact with little coding and even less testing required.
If you are a novice, you can pick good patterns from this book, especially about wait-time handling. This book is a rare find. The subject matter is rare and so is the depth of the analysis. In this book, you get so much information and even some pictures, examples, and a bunch of exposed bloopers on less than 200 pages.