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So I've got an iOS app that I'm working on which needs to reach out to a server and pull down a few pieces of data to populate throughout the app.

Option1: Is it good UX to tell the user I'm downloading X, then Y and Now Z? The data that I'm downloading is kind of some technical stuff..


Option2: Is it better to say "We're logging you in!" ?

I'm leaning toward option2 and give them a simple and sweet login message that we're loggin them in.


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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Option 1 with a few changes.

If you have to download something it will take some time. Because of this, it is a good practice to give some explanation to the user. So, it would be nice if you:

(1) Explain what is happening
I believe that it is enough to mention that you are downloading content, but if you think that it is relevant to mention what is specifically being downloaded, then do it. If you think it is too technical and not that important, don't do it.

(2) Give an ideia about how long it is gonna take
Is it possible to show some kind of progress? It would be perfect. The endless "loading" indication is frustrating.

I understood that you are downloading content immediately after the user logs in and, if that is the case, I think you should consider to log the user first and then to download what is needed. This way you show that the access worked fine, and a different thing is happening (your option 2 may give the ideia that logging in is taking too much time).

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I can't count how many times I wasted my time downloading an app only to find it taking forever to get anywhere. These days I delete those apps immediately and never regretted it.

If you really value your user's time, please show them something as soon as you can! Why can't the downloading go in the background without compromising user's experience? Use local storage, caching, as much as possible, to reduce the data to download in both size and number of requests.

Show your user some guide, tutorial, help page, manual, description - just anything to give them some value!

Predict their behaviour and pre-load stuff if you can.

And if it really has to be - a simple progress bar that moves will do the trick.

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