Psychology of Waiting in Lines

I stumbled across this academic paper on the psychology of waiting in lines.  It’s an updated version of a 1985 study and is apparently a chapter excerpted out of an upcoming book.  You can read more about it here, but the Cliffsnotes version of line design principals are:

  1. Emotions Dominate
  2. Eliminate Confusion: Provide a Conceptual Model, Feedback
    and Explanation
  3. The Wait Must Be Appropriate
  4. Set Expectations, Then Meet or Exceed Them
  5. Keep People Occupied: Filled Time Passes More Quickly Than
    Unfilled Time
  6. Be Fair
  7. End Strong, Start Strong
  8. Memory of an Event Is More Important than the Experience

The paper is a study of physical lines (coffee shop, hospital, DMV, etc.) but I think the principals and conclusions apply equally well to virtual queues.  here’s the paper:

Read this document on Scribd: Whitepaper: Psychology of Waiting in Line