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In a web aplication with lots of possible operations is it better to have a full-page overlay while loading/processing opertations or to have localized loadings for each operation. I think the full-page option, though being a lot more noticeable and easier for less experient users to understand they have to wait while processing is on the other hand a harsh on the vision approach also blocking the possibility to continue reading the data on the page. While the localized approach being a lot more easy on the eye and allowing the user to still view the rest of the page may result in some user not understanding whats going on and why can't they do other oparations while that one is still performing, probably leading them to refresh the page.

Example when clicking save for first row: example

thoughts on this?

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It actually depends on how you develop the app. Usually, the fullscreen overlay is not only meant to convey the idea that you have to wait and that you shouldn't interact with anything, it also prevent users from actually interacting. The localized version is way cleaner and feels quicker. Use that one if you can handle the fact that a user clicking something else while it's loading won't break your app. –  jgthms Apr 21 at 14:39
    
Yes I also think that localized is the best approach, I'm going with that. Trying to predict and prevent all possible conflicts, just hope I don't forget anything. –  FabioG Apr 22 at 10:31

1 Answer 1

In a web aplication with lots of possible operations is it better to have a full-page overlay while loading/processing opertations or to have localized loadings for each operation.

Localized for inline operations

If you just wanted to post a status on Facebook, or send a message through chat, you don't want to block the entire page while it sends the data to the server. You would want the user to interact with the page. That's a case when localized loading indicators would be best used.

Globalized for brittle operations

If the operation will potentially break, then a full screen loading indicator is best. For instance, if you're uploading a file. You would want to prevent the user from navigating somewhere else while this happens.

Limiting the interface

But then, a full block would confuse the user and if the proper error handlers aren't placed, the user might think "OMG! The thing froze!" or "I have to wait and do nothing?". What you can do in this case is limit the interface instead.

So back to our upload example, Facebook offers a modal for uploading pictures. You can only interact to the modal related to the upload operation, and not the other parts of the page. You can tag photos while the others upload, change album name etc. While it indicates it is in progress, you are given an interface to play around, just limited.

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