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Currently for a loading animation I use an animated gif (imagine like a wave rotating on itself, which is inherent to theme of the app), instead of a classical loading animation. The thing is that I am not sure if I like it, because it is not as clean as the rest of the app design (kind of Material Design).

But my beta users really likes it, and think it's a cool animation. So I a have a few questions, is it a good choice to use a more complex animation for loadings (In my opinion it could make the loading experience more positive but I am not sure about it and could also distract from the actual content of the app)? Is it just that I don't like that particular gif and should I make one cleaner and more appropriate for the design of the rest of the app? Should I opt for a simpler animation (like Material Circular Progress Indicator)?

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It sounds like your loading indicator matches your theme, your users love it, and it's doing its job as a loader – these are clues that it's good UX. If it provides enough positive distraction, it might even make the load time appear to be less than what it actually is.

Thus, a plain, standard loading indicator might not provide more benefits. If you viscerally dislike it, ask around about what could be improved (post it here?)

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  • Thanks for the insight! – Stemo688 Oct 14 '20 at 19:01
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Actually, anything complex will probably look nice on first impression (since most of the loading animations tend to be basic), but the more times you look at it the less appealing it will generally be (especially when the loading time is long).

Complexity on the loading interaction isn't just limited to the animation itself. Depending on the type of application, you can provide information relevant to the user (apart from the percentage loaded if it is possible to determine the progress) that helps them with using the application (e.g. tips) or data (e.g. usage statistics) that might be of interest.

Whatever you decide, it is important to realize that beta users are giving you first impressions, and over time they might not find the loading animation quite as cool as they first thought it was.

Definitely have a look at the Kano model of customer satisfaction and get an understanding of how user experience can degrade over time for certain features.

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  • Thanks for the suggestion, I will take a look! – Stemo688 Oct 14 '20 at 19:02

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