I Want It Now

This post is part of a series on Design for Engagement.

Engagement > Immediacy >


the moment of impact
The great thing about immediate gratification is you get it now. People pay more attention to propositions that are available without delay: the sooner, the better. This instinctive response has evolved to help us respond quickly to pressing threats, and take advantage of fleeting opportunities.

One of the chief benefits of mobile computing is it makes gratification more immediate. If you want to know what schadenfreude means, or where you can find good goulash at this time of morning, the answer is available now on your phone.

Once engaged in an activity, we tend to stay engaged as long as the gratification flows uninterrupted. Successful games keep us engaged by meting out gratifications in quantities calibrated to sustain our attention.

Speed matters. Page load time, application performance, server response, any cause for slight delay can mean the loss of your audience to a distraction more immediate.
  • Amazon: 100 ms of extra load time caused a 1% drop in sales (source: Greg Linden, Amazon).
  • Google: 500 ms of extra load time caused 20% fewer searches (source: Marrissa Mayer, Google).
  • Yahoo!: 400 ms of extra load time caused a 5–9% increase in the number of people who clicked “back” before the page even loaded (source: Nicole Sullivan, Yahoo!). 
(facts courtesy of Alex McCaw)
ebay Now gratifies faster

To increase the attractiveness of your proposition, decrease time-to-gratification. For example, ebay now makes its proposition more exciting by offering one-hour delivery to your door.

Bottom line

  • Optimize for speed: not just the user interface, but everything from page load to proposition delivery.

What do you think? How do you make gratification more immediate? I'd appreciate your suggestions and thoughts. Leave a comment below. Please engage.

This post is part of a series on building customer engagement.

If your interests extend to theory and philosophy, please check out my other blog.


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