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Response Time

Providing the world's most attractive GUI with stunning multimedia fanfares will not give the system a good "feel" if the processor grinds slowly to a halt under the sheer task load. Countless games have been written that demanded too much of the hardware they were designed for. "The Lord of the Rings" was a textually based adventure/strategy game with occasional graphics for the 8-bit Micros of the 1980's. Some user inputs required a 5 minute process cycle before another chance of interaction was given. The response time felt slow, sloppy and annoying. This created an informally assimilated program specification beyond the designer's immediate thoughts.

If a user is required to wait they should be kept informed of system activities. A blank screen with no information leaves a user wondering what has happened - has the system simply crashed? An icon of an egg timer is one famous solution, another is the InstallShield-style task bar that gives an indication of the percentage of the task remaining until completion. Indeed, for a product to carry the "Microsoft Windows 95/98 compatible" badge, one of the requirements is the percentage task bar. In any case, users feel that waiting time is actually less when such confirmation is employed, despite evidence to the contrary.

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