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I'm working on a product detail page that contains a 'Table of Contents'. Due to some not so great API work, I'm in a weird situation.

It takes between 10-20 seconds for the app to check if there is a Table of Contents. I want to indicate to the user that it is loading, but I'd rather not draw attention to this failure to load with an animation.

Is there anything better to show that this is actively loading than simple 'Loading...' static text? Does it seems worth it to add a loading animation, but risk having the user look at it early?

Edit: I forgot to mention this is a secondary element on the page. Hope this image helps a bit: enter image description here

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    10-20 seconds is a very long time for a user to wait on the Web, particularly for something like a product page. Is it worth waiting for? – Matt Obee Feb 10 '15 at 15:27
  • @MattObee Agreed it is painfully long. Unfortunately, Table of Contents is important when comparing two products. I was thinking we could hide it until it loaded, but I would be afraid the user would be confused why some had Table of Contents and others didn't because of load time. – Kristin L Feb 10 '15 at 15:29
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    That's the thing. If you don't draw attention to the fact that something is loading, why would they stick around and wait? If you do draw attention to it, you need to explain what's loading and why they should bother waiting. – Matt Obee Feb 10 '15 at 15:31
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    @MattObee That's a really great point. I failed to mention this is a secondary element on the page, listed after the product details. My hope was someone would read the other details and by the time they made it to Table of Contents, it would be loaded. I'll add an image to clarify. – Kristin L Feb 10 '15 at 15:34
  • I'm afraid that if you have 1/4 of the page showing content that isn't there then anything you do will draw attention to the fact that your system is sometimes slow – DaveAlger Feb 10 '15 at 15:40
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It sounds like what you are doing is probably the best thing you can do given the situation. Just show it as soon as you can and hope it isn't one of the crappy slow pages.

You have to show something in 1 second or less and I would say a light colored static text is sufficient.

Loading table of contents...

  • Yeah, seems to be the best solution. Thanks for the advice – Kristin L Feb 10 '15 at 16:58

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