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What would be an optimal amount of time to show an interstitial before it closes automatically? Bearing in mind both the information is succesfully conveyed and the frustration of the user is minimized.

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.2 - .8 seconds :) – Matt Rockwell Dec 15 '11 at 14:36
Can you give us a specific example of the context where you're showing an interestitial message? If you can post a screenshot and/or the text of the message itself, that would be ideal. (There might be good general-purpose guidelines, but I'm hoping to head off answers that start "It depends..." and rhyme with "tl;dr." ;-)) – Patrick McElhaney Dec 15 '11 at 14:48
I assume whether or not the interstitial should time out at all isn't something to be considered? For example, if the message is "you are leaving" then you may want to wait until the user gives the manual OK, especially if secure data is being transferred. – Evan Dec 16 '11 at 18:05
@Evan thanks for the insight. We already ruled that out, but it is something to bear in mind. – Naoise Golden Dec 18 '11 at 23:58
up vote 0 down vote accepted

As shorter time as it takes for the information you're displaying on the page to be consumed - an image with a simple message? 5 seconds. Two paragraphs? 3 minutes.

A very subjective question, which only you can answer.

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