On many sites being software repositories often when I click "download" I am redirected to another page, when there is a countdown (eg. 5 seconds) to download. But I can click "direct link" (in case if "downloading does not work properly").

What is this delay for? Does it have something common with UX? The only reason I can imagine is that I am to be somehow ensured about downloading.

There can of course be some server solution requiring this delay, but usually this direct link works too, so sending the file to download doesn't require some preliminary operations.

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    They ensure you digest their ads. As simple as that... Jun 9, 2013 at 21:23
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    This might be true, I use Adblock, so haven't noticed. I'm sure I saw this method also on large software companies
    – Voitcus
    Jun 9, 2013 at 21:32
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    Also a method to limit easy Denial-of-service attacks. Jun 9, 2013 at 21:36
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    I'm not sure if this is DoS limitation as usually the direct link works too. Maybe something related to mirror selection?
    – Voitcus
    Jun 10, 2013 at 7:10

1 Answer 1


The good UX thinking:

It gives the user a chance to navigate away from the page and 'undo' the download action.

The bad UX thinking:

It stalls the user enough that they are forced to focus on other things on the page. Adverts, related downloads, suggestions, etc.

Like Nielsen points out, anything near or above 10 seconds wait-time, the user loses focus on the task at hand and starts looking for other things.

10 seconds is about the limit for keeping the user's attention focused on the dialogue. For longer delays, users will want to perform other tasks while waiting for the computer to finish, so they should be given feedback indicating when the computer expects to be done. Feedback during the delay is especially important if the response time is likely to be highly variable, since users will then not know what to expect.

Apart from UX considerations, there are security concerns also like Deer Hunter mentioned in the comments, but, I would leave that for Security.SE :)

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