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I've built an application where sometimes views fetch data after a specific time. What would be a good indicator for how long it takes until the view will update its data again? I came up with an arc that grows from 0 to 360 degrees, but I wonder if there are other solutions.

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What's the timeframe? Maybe a simple and easy to understand countdown can help, e.g. 'Update in [xx]s'. Some more visual and playful thing like a growing circle might be nicer though if users understand the meaning at first sight. Also depends a bit on the audience and design of the UI I'd say. –  greenforest Oct 15 '13 at 21:33
    
Why is it necessary to indicate the next refresh anyway? In my opinion, it might add some kind of pressure to the user, telling him "you have only x seconds left until something happens! hurry up with your stuff, we're running out of time!" –  L. Möller Oct 16 '13 at 11:33
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Its about live data and sometimes the changes between the updates are very low. So its more to show the user that the data are updating every x seconds so he has the feeling about the something is happen. –  Andreas Köberle Oct 16 '13 at 11:41
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up vote 4 down vote accepted

An arc is definitely one way to do this, but I would use it as a countdown so it reduces from 360° to zero, anti-clockwise. The three states illustrated here are start, two-thirds-done and about-to-refresh:

Three states of countdown control

I've included a "reload" symbol here as that's a useful way of indicating what the control is showing; the control could be used as a button for an instant refresh.

(Apple currently does something similar — in reverse — to indicate download progress during updates.)

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