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I am implementing some UI functionality. I have a button that perform some short or long (time) action. I have implemented so logic: if action's execution time more then some in milliseconds, then code locking other action controls, otherwise (to avoid blinking) the code does not do this. My questions are:

  • What is the reasonable x value time can I use to change cursor to [wait] one?

I understand, if operation is too long ( more than few seconds) I have to show progress bar to inform user, that action is too long.

  • What is the x value2 when I have to display progress bar? Are these any metrics?
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2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

MS Windows 7 UX Guidelines recommends a busy cursor or other "activity indicator" for x > 1 second; they recommend a progress bar for x > 5 seconds (p671) Java Swing and Gnome guidelines agree, with Swing specifying the test procedure for determining your observed x.

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+1 thank you. that is more then I asked! –  igor Oct 17 '11 at 12:15

Users think that an action executed about 20 milliseconds after a button click is instantaneous. Slower actions should definitely show a waiting cursor or some other form of feedback. We use a generic progress bar with filling timeslots for all actions >100 milliseconds. Really slow actions get a progress bar or are executed on a background thread.

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Where did you get the 20 millisecond figure? –  Patrick McElhaney Oct 18 '11 at 0:15

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