There is Value in the Disruption

A few months back I was working on a tool that automatically updated a form from previous data. The interaction itself was really simple—click a button, form fields update—but the speed of it bugged me.

It was too fast.

The before-and-after was so similar—the “Copying…” message so quick—it was hard to tell anything really happened. It was an interesting dilemma. I can be a little obsessive on making things efficient (speed matters, right?!) and yet here I was looking for ways to slow this interaction down.

In Search Patterns, I came across this same idea with regards to AJAX-style page loads. While the elegance of an opacity-animated transition relays a smoothness that round-trip page-loads will never have, it comes at a cost: the user needs to be notified that something changed, and that can be awkward.

Live search applications are like dangerously quiet hybrid vehicles. When the noise disappears, we find it had value. Peter Morville & Jeffery Callender

It’s a fascinating idea. Making things objectively better does not always make the better experience.

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