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Yesterday when buying some cinema tickets I got this kind of redirect screen, which I have seen other times before (specially when trying to reserve seats in a theater):

redirect screen

Leaving aside what could be the reasons for it, it has always bugged me if this is a correct UX pattern:

1 . User arrives to screen

2a . User is redirected somewhere else

2b . User is not redirected and needs to click the link

There are several situations I have encontered before:

  • The page redirects "too fast" and I can't read what it says. On one side the aim is to show this screen as less time as possible but at the same time the experience is very weird and might look shady (as if this screen was related to some virus or spam).

  • The page doesn't redirect that fast. If I am supposed to wait those 30 seconds why does the button appear before the time passed?

  • The page doesn't redirect at all. To me, although it is the less efficient mean, this looks like the clearest and most user-friendly one, as the user has the control.

What would be a good pattern for such a screen?

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To me, if you're redirecting a user to a page with text on it either:

a) don't put any text on it, make the redirect seamless and reliable. Use error handling to explain clearly to the user what's happened if the redirect fails for whatever reason and requires user intervention to proceed.

b) if there is text on a redirect screen give the user enough time to engage with the concept of the content, regardless of the time it takes to redirect - what's the point of putting anything on a page if the user will just be whisked away by a redirect they won't necessarily understand the purpose of it. This could be executed as a minimum time on redirect page, do some research on how long it will take users on average to read the text on the page, allow that time as a minimum

But does the user need to be aware of this redirect? this is more of a technical solution but could the process be asynchronous and processed by the server and not require the user to wait around for it to complete, you may have technical constraints but you can still make the UI feel fast from the users point of view.

Whatever approach you take, remember the key principle of visibility of system status always explain to the user what the system is doing.

  • "always explain to the user what the system is doing" good point! – Alvaro Nov 24 '16 at 23:26
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I don't think this screen is a good experience at all. It might make sense when the user is leaving a content platfrom through an outgoing link but then I would not redirect at all but let them confirm.

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I would argue that the reason for this screen to exist is technical, and maybe including some transaction happening offsite or being processed by a third party, rather than something a designer would pursue.

However, it's on the designer's hand to make this screen as palatable and reliable as possible.

So the question that the designer needs to answer to is, how can I hold the hand of the user during the length of the transaction however long that might be, i.e. instant, lengthy, broken.

A good workflow pattern, maybe could be, break it down into three different screens, and a timer that keeps the user informed of what's happening.

For example:

Loading Flow

The leftmost screen (1-3 secs), would help you cover those cases when the transition between pages is too fast. So clear, bold, small text would help.

The center screen (30-60 secs), would help you once, processing is taking longer, but it's somewhat expected. Include some instructions of what to do, or not to do while they wait.

The rightmost screen (1+ mins) is useful once the process took too long, and there's no way you're going to recover, however, take the necessary steps to push the user path the right way. i.e. support.

I hope this helps. You'll just need to make sure you ask the right technical questions.

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