5

In Android applications, the default AndroidHttpClient uses a timeout of 60 seconds. My guess is that no person sits around waiting 60 seconds for his or her device to display a timeout message.

What is a better value, taking into account both network (poor connections) and human behavior?

1
  • Are you forcing the user to wait until the timeout? If yes, why? If not, I'd say the timeout should be so that none but the most patient user will ever see it.
    – celtschk
    May 4, 2014 at 18:30

1 Answer 1

10

Nielsen has done significant research into the effect the length of a delay takes.

Powers of 10 time scales in UX

Response Times: The 3 important limits

In brief

  • longer than 1 second breaks flow of thought
  • longer than 10 seconds loses the users attentions
  • most simple tasks should be completed within 1 Minute

So if it is a task important to the user then 60 seconds delay is OK. Otherwise more than 10 seconds is an issue. The peculiar thing is that the 20 to 50 seconds timeframe does not have great bearing on user impact -- it's all time after "attention lost" but before "will abandon a task".

Essentially if you can't go down to a 10 second time-out limit, then don't bother and tackle the UX issue a different way.

A time-out is often not a usability choice, but rather a technical choice or even in the case of some standards it can be a technical requirement. e.g. 1 second retries may cause runaway cascade of collisions, so this is not permitted.

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