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Interactive applications require certain response times in order to capture a user’s
attention. Because response time is important when developing or working on any interactive
application, there are acceptable system response times that should be followed. For most
interaction within the application, the response time should be 0.1 seconds. This includes mouse
clicks, any pressing of keys or buttons, or pointer movement. Other important response times
should also be noted. They include 1.0 second, which is the amount of time a user’s train of
thought will stay uninterrupted, and 10 seconds, which is the amount of time an application is
able to maintain a user’s attention (Nielsen, 1993).
The response time for interactive applications is faster than traditional websites. As
computers have gotten faster and interactive applications have become more mainstream, users
are demanding websites also response quicker. Previously, acceptable response time for websites
was approximately 8 seconds. However, new studies have shown that the acceptable response
time is now 4 seconds (“Akamai,” 2006).
System response times are seen in many different instances in our daily lives. Major
users of such systems are businesses and organizations. With each transaction made, the business
or organization must wait for a response to complete the transaction and move on to the next.
One example of response time is seen in the metro systems in both New York City and
Washington, D.C. Users are provided with a card with a magnetic strip that is slid through a
reader. The user’s ability to continue forward through the turnstile is dependent on the system’s
response. Meanwhile another example would a company’s inventory system. As users purchase
goods online, it affects the store’s inventory. If the system is slow to respond to the consumer’s
actions of consuming inventory, the store is liable to oversell a product, or in other words be
unable to fulfill orders.

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