Measuring hesitation can be valuable. Already, devices like Google’s Android uses information from the phone’s GPS to detect traffic speed. The data is then sent to Google maps and appears as a visual overlay of information — red means there’s a traffic jam. Hesitation can also come in forms that indicate if problem solving is taking place or if doubt exists. I often watch people as they use an app on their mobile device to see if they are in fact saving or killing time.

I was among the first consumers to use the Starbucks app, which is basically a digital version of their gift cards. When I used it for the first time, I fumbled through the steps that produced a QR code for the cashier to then scan and I thought “wouldn’t it be faster if I just handed them my plastic card?”. Hesitation can kill an app like this.

So, how do we manage hesitation? We hire user experience designers, cognitive scientists, information architects, talented developers, and visual designers to make a product as intuitive and responsive as possible. The negative effect of hesitation is it can turn a user away (download times), frustrate (this is taking too long to learn – it isn’t sticking), confuse (I’m lost and have to search for navigation paths), or lose trust (why isn’t this saving?). Hesitation can also be positive, meaning the user is persuade by the product/service because the content is engaging.

With mobile devices becoming more popular it will become increasingly important to factor in hesitation times. When sitting at a desktop computer, the user is static and less likely to be confronted with environmental distractions such as moving in a line at a coffee shop or paying attention when crossing the street. This means user testing, like the device, should be mobile.