Can’t Wait? (Instant Gratification)


Technology advances every day, and many of us are daily users of easy-to-use apps that enable us to communicate, send money, learn things and even compose music on the train to work. We get more done, faster than ever.

Instant gratification is the desire to experience pleasure or fulfilment without delay or deferment. A society that experiences fewer and fewer waits in its daily habits will slowly possess less and less patience.

Manuals are fast becoming a thing of the past. We have little patience to read and learn in order to do what we want. Delivery takes two days? or a taxi takes over 10 minutes to arrive? That’s not cool for millennials. Nowadays, you can have anything instantly: with new methods of agriculture we can grow crops off-season, allowing us to travel ahead in months; with cars and airplanes our trips have reduced from weeks and months to hours; Google can provide you with an answer you’ve wondered your whole life about within seconds; and almost anything can be delivered to your doorstep the next day if not sooner.

Today, services instantly fulfill a part of life that used to require more effort and patience. We have become accustomed to the instant gratification afforded by technology and our demand for rapid results has made waiting difficult and often seen as unnecessary. We want something instantly because a) we can and b) it makes us feel like we have achieved something. Although this does not apply to everyone, a majority of people have time constraints, so to hit the ground running. The quicker we complete something, the quicker we get gratification.

The younger the audience you are designing for, the higher the expectation for intuitive design. Today’s young people are born into a world of instant gratification and technologically advanced devices and apps that are intuitive to use. New products need to either be comparable to what is already on the market or be better.

Of course this is a generalisation. People, especially young, tech savvy individuals, do enjoy learning and love challenges, because tech empowers them to reach newgrounds, create new processes and outcomes for themselves. We also have access to learning materials more than ever before, YouTube, Forums, Podcasts, facebook groups...

But if the product you are designing is for broader audiences, and it requires great effort to learn, you are introducing a barrier to entry. It is important to understand the people you are designing for because the needs and wants can differ considerably. That does not mean asking people what they want. Creating personas informed by real people is a simple way to keep their needs in mind when designing features and solutions. Some of us just can’t wait.

Illustration by Onkel Wanskicks