I'm working on a food ordering mobile website. After ordering the meal, the preparation progress screen that aims to give users a rough estimate on what time their meal will be ready. Due to technical limitations, the time estimate won't update automatically. However if users refresh their browser, the time will be updated.
i'm faced with 2 choices
inform the user in words. that they need to refresh their browser
change the words of the time estimate to manage their expectations.
from these which is the better choice. and how should i convey the message, would appreciate examples. Or is there another way to overcome this?
There is no reason to calculate this for the user unless you truly believe they cannot tell time.
"Your order will be ready at 18:12" should suffice; it does not matter how many minutes away that is.
This allows the user to make a quick mental note of when to check on their order instead of forcing them to think "Oh, it's 18:10 right now and 9 minutes ago it said I have 23 minutes left; or was that 12 minutes ago? Screw it I guess I'll just open the app again." Your current plan gives the end-user both a memory problem and a math problem all at once; don't do that.
When reading the question, the Amazon parcel tracking app sprang to mind. That shows the location of the driver, but only updates every 30 seconds or so. In between time, it shows how long ago it was updated, incrementing every 10 seconds.
Something similar might suit your needs - as it gives a view of how current your information is but still updates at a frequency that makes sense for your users.
<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="60">?