I've noticed that Google Calendar uses a red Loading... overlay in the top righthand corner on Ajax actions (e.g. opening a calendar item):

Google Calender Loading

I know that Google, being Google, have redefined the usual emotive connection of RED (error/danger) for their primary buttons, e.g. SAVE (see What rules does Google use to make a button gray, blue, or red on their sites?), but is red a good color to indicate something as unobtrusive as 'Loading'?

Incidentally, it doesn't seem that they have a company-wide standard in this regard: Google Drive, for example, uses the color-flipping ball, and it's over the specific div, not top-right:

enter image description here

  • If red has an emotive connection to 'danger', why are wasps coloured black and yellow? And why are apples red?
    – Brendon
    Sep 10, 2014 at 10:56
  • Perhaps because it is the colour of blood, or fire. See also Robertson, S.: Contemporary Ergonomics 1996; and Karwowski, Waldemar. International Encyclopedia of Ergonomics and Human Factors, 2006 Sep 10, 2014 at 15:56

4 Answers 4


Getting there the loading at least somehow in last iteration or regression phase because of somebody fogot/made a mistake/other stuff was critical. Dev and designer talking about options and this position and size is least obtrusive to overall design but is at least in corporate red, to make it noticeable. Sigh from a designer (At least some 2px margins, please please!), but at least it works for the user? :)


The idea would probably be to stand out but for some of us, our brains are so hardwired on colors that it gets very easy to miss it. Red is usually representing stop, error, critical etc. We have semaphores using red, error icons using red, traffic signs are using red to signal a potential danger.

However, in Google groups and calendar I had real issues finding those actions that were placed on red button. I was simply not seeing the red buttons, because I was not looking for something dangerous. For instance I spent few good seconds looking on how to post a reply in Google group because that reply button was on a red background.

And I've noticed the same behavior to other people as well, searching for quite some time for those actions that are placed on red background. Same thing for New Topic. It just doesn't feel natural to click a big red button whenever I want to post a reply.

Until I've read this topic I had no idea the loading message appears there; for some reasons I just skip the red parts unless I look for an error, delete or some other kind of dangerous action. So in the end, at least for me, red is totally defying the purpose.

And I won't even start with the placement in page of some of their actions...

Usually I enjoy Google products especially since most of them are user friendly, but the Google Groups and some parts of the Google Calendar are really User Grumpy with a get-off-my-lawn attitude that makes me never wanting to use that again.


If you just want to open a calendar entry for a quick glimpse, you don't want to wait for the whole page to load and the information being blocked by some loading symbol, etc..

In this case, the page looks like it is already loaded, but if some information are missing you will quickly find the RED "Loading..." element, as is stands out because of its color, and won't be confused.

  • Agreed, but see my own answer: isn't orange/yellow a better approach, as employed in Gmail? Sep 10, 2014 at 9:25
  • I agree. It my opinion it is, too. But since your question was why somedid it this way in this case I gave you opinion on that. But again it is strange that they do not have a company wide standard O_o Sep 10, 2014 at 15:43

OK, I'll answer my own question: I think the red, top-right 'Loading' message in Google Calendar is just wrong. I prefer the Gmail way:

Gmail loading

Orangey-yellow (not red), top, centered. It is interesting that three Google products (Gmail, Calendar, Drive) all have different approaches.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.