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I've built a program to install an application.

For people with slow PCs, it could take a couple of minutes to run fully.

However for people with faster PCs, it whizzes through and runs the whole thing in a matter of seconds. This makes it almost impossible to read any of the loading messages. (e.g. "backup up previous versions....", "writing to registry...", "launching...")

Would it be a good idea to include an "artificial" delay, so they can actually read what is going on? It seems a shame to slow the program down, when I've taken so many measures to make it as quick as possible.

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Why do users need to see those messages? What specific purpose does it serve for the user? Answering this question may help you understand how to present the information. – Alex Feinman Jul 19 '13 at 12:29
related question:… – Dvir Adler Jul 21 '13 at 10:32
up vote 22 down vote accepted

Simple answer is NO. Do not add artificial delays.

But what if the message is important for all users?

If its important you shouldn't put it at application loading screen. Most people don't even care to watch the loading screen, its usually a good time to leave the seat and go grab a soda or chips.

In-case of Hybrid installers (i.e. installer that run as a sub-program) What you can do is - Show some message while loading and then show the same message as an overlay on the landing page when the user begins interacting with it. You might have to edit the messages a little say "Loading databases 1234" would now be "Databases 1234 were loaded" etc. Make these overlays auto collapse / hide after a few seconds (determine this by the length of the message or messages).

You could even stack the messages one at a time on screen.

Example: but without the "activate me" button. Your cue would be user's initial interaction with the app.

For your average Installer app - this would be on the post installation screen, hoping you have one. Here is a relevant screenshot. enter image description here

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Incase someone is puzzled at "Installers that run as a sub..." I was talking about applications like and… which are applications to install & manage applications. – Rayraegah Jul 19 '13 at 12:10

In this situation you should not introduce artificial delays. The explanation is as follows :

For faster PC's : As you are planning to introduce the delays for people using faster systems, so it will be OK as the users will be able to see the intended messages.

For slower PC's : Introducing artificial delays will may affect the User Experience and frustrate the user as already their PC's are slower and on the top of that the user will see the messages which are usually related to the installation of the system which are obviously not of any interest.

You can always keep in mind that User generally doesn't like pure technical messages. So you can always think that is it that much important for the user to see the messages.


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