Like many knowledge workers in the world I spend a few minutes each day looking at blank screens while waiting for meetings to start or things to download. For instance today I spent 5 minutes here:

Looks like someone turned the lights off. The text might as well say: “make yourself comfortable in a cold, black room”.

Earlier I spent a few minutes here on the ‘Waiting for organiser’ screen of Go To Meeting. Like millions of people, I looked at it bored, thinking each day ‘come on, come one, where on earth are you?’

Wasted time?

But it needn’t be.

This dead time is a great opportunity for these brands to offer a great little experience.

How about waking up your neurons with some quick ‘Pre-meeting energisers’ or ‘Warm up exercises’? Fun, ice-breaking, and brand building.

Or maybe how about something practical, such as tips or reminders on Video / Web Conference etiquette? For instance quick spots on ‘How to look good on Video Conference’ or ‘Tips on Screensharing’.

Some brands get this.

Fledgling Video Conference company uses as lander style game to entertain waiting attendees.

(That’s me getting blown up, again. Far more fun than doing the actual meeting).

WeTransfer monetizes it’s download screens with high impact advertising.

Other services give you a wry smile through nice touches and playful language. Replay App tells me it is ‘bending space and time’ while it outputs it messages. Axure gives me a fun little animation to diffuse impatience:

The point is, these waiting screens could be some of the best promotional real estate and brand building experiences these services have. So why are they often overlooked?

Here’s a challenge for you. Consider the eons of lost time the world spends listening to crap on hold music on the phone. Why not replace this with voice based games or activities? Wouldn’t that be a holy grail of UX – people actually wanting to stay on hold?