I am puzzling over the location to display a moving GIF so that a user knows when a site is processing and they should wait. The site I am working on has many forms that a user changes between using a dropdown list. Some forms have very large text inputs where they may enter many paragraphs, and I have had users spend an hour entering text in a form just to click save and find out that they have timed out from their session.
So I have the auto-saving logic working great. What I can't decide is which of the following layouts is best for a web application for the general public.
- Use a large animated GIF with maybe a transparent overlay during the loading
- Use a smaller animated GIF worked into the page layout but in a easily seen location
I'm afraid that if I go with #2, some users will not notice that the page is still processing, and will begin entering text into another control. Then when the update is finished, the information they had entered into the next control would be lost.
While that is a serious concern, plan #1 is not too easy on the eyes, having a large image obscure the site, but it does keep the user from moving on until the update is complete.
Is one method preferred over another? Am I missing a third option?