LIFESTYLE

Give Me Just A Little More Time

In the hyper speed of this digital world, there’s virtually “nothing” buffering our desires to buy, tweet or text. Some say we need more friction.

04.25.2019

Give Me Just A Little More Time

By FTC Editorial Team

Friction has traditionally been seen as a hindrance to things going faster, higher or smoother. In today’s digital world, that drag has dropped dramatically as our online experience is designed to be quick, effortless and requiring little brain “work.” In this frictionless world, it’s estimated that billions of dollars are spent paying brilliant minds to “further reduce the milliseconds of delay separating our desires and their fulfillment.”1 Consider how fast we can tweet our thoughts, email an answer, read a text, check an Instagram, or buy the next best thing. There’s nearly nothing holding us back.

Wired magazine, for instance, reports more than 88% of Americans said they make impulse purchases online, spending an average of $81.75 each time, with one in five making spontaneous purchases a weekly event.2 Add it up and the numbers are big. Other research shows “impulse purchases represent almost 40% of all the money spent on e-commerce.”3

Is it full speed ahead?  Not necessarily. Companies are learning, for instance, that people equate time with trust in making certain buying decisions. Customers have proved wary of mortgage engines and cellphone plan software that deliver answers in split seconds. People judged that not enough time had passed for a trustworthy analysis. As a result, some firms are strategically lengthening processing time to match consumer expectations.4

Newer applications, such as “Space” or “Time: Defeat Distraction,” are built to add some work between the user and their urge to app hop. The focus is on pausing to allow room for second thoughts.

Decades ago, Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan wrote: “We shape our tools and then our tools shape us.”5 It’ll be interesting to see, if amid the digital world’s amazing information and time-saving capabilities, the desire for more friction grows.

 

 

 

 

NOTES:

1 Ezra Klein, “The case for slowing everything down a bit,” Vox, November 19, 2018, https://www.vox.com/technology/2018/11/19/18101274/google-alphabet-facebook-twitter-addiction-speed.
2 Zohar Lazar, “We Need Software to Help Us Slow Down, Not Speed Up,” Wired, August 28, 2018, https://www.wired.com/story/software-to-help-us-slow-down-not-speed-up.
3 Khalid Saleh, “The State of Impulse Buying Persona – Statistics and Trends,” Invespro, https://www.invespcro.com/blog/impulse-buying.
4 Mark Wilson, “The UX Secret That Will Ruin Apps For You,” Fast Company, July 6, 2016, https://www.fastcompany.com/3061519/the-ux-secret-that-will-ruin-apps-for-you.
5 Marshall McLuhan, “We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us.” Brainyquotes, https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/marshall_mcluhan_14111

 

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