I have two questions about the standards of data loading from an URL (data syncronization).

Here is my first question. I have an application with a slide menu, where each page has different data.

Here is an example of a slide menu

I don't know when to load all the data.

First scenario : separate data loading :

  • When the user first click on one button → data loading.
  • When the user navigate to another page → data loading of this page.

Second scenario :

  • Splash screen or main page → all data loading.

Which of this 2 scenarios is the standard ?

And my second question is about reloading data when the user is still using the application. The user has the possibility to refresh the data by "swiping to refresh".

Swipe to refresh example

But do I have to update the data without his intervention? For example:

  • Checking all X minutes whether or not there is new data?
  • When the user come back to a page, do I reload the data of this page?

I don't know if there is real standard for this question, or it depends on the application.

  • Can your clarify what kind of data you're synchronizing? Are you rendering the view or loading background data? How long is the wait?
    – tohster
    May 4, 2015 at 10:12
  • I am loading background data : the application only get the informations from a website. There is no database. If the user has a good network, only 2-3 seconds for the wait. 15-20 seconds for the others.
    – FR073N
    May 4, 2015 at 10:26
  • OK thanks. Can the page be rendered and used while the background is loading, or does the user have to wait until the data is fully loaded/synchronized before she can use the page?
    – tohster
    May 4, 2015 at 10:29
  • The user needs to wait until the data is fully loaded. The page will be empty otherwise.
    – FR073N
    May 4, 2015 at 11:43
  • OK got it. I think your second question needs to be removed and posted as a new question on the site...if you can do that then I'll answer your first question.
    – tohster
    May 4, 2015 at 13:57

1 Answer 1


Combo questions... what fun!

Question 1: Is there a standard for loading data? Load on demand per section or all together?

This is a "it depends" type of question. The rule of thumb I'd use is to load enough data to be useful for the user but no more. More data can be useful, but it does mean a longer loading time.

So, the question to ask:

As a user, what's my typical interaction within the app? Am I more likely to dive into a specific area in the app and move on? Or am I more likely to bounce between multiple areas because the data between sections are highly related?

If data within each section is fairly discrete and users are likely to only interact with specific sections, then scenario one: loading data on-demand is a better solution because the load time will be reduced.

If data within sections are highly related, and users are expected to jump back and forth regularly, then you may want to consider scenario two with pre-loading all associated data. This make sense because there's a cost in section switching. The longer the wait when moving between 2 related sections, the more likely the user is to forget the connection between data in one section and another.

Question 2: How to deal with refreshing real-time data?

So you have an app that displays real-time data. When should you refresh the data?

Question you should ask: As a user, how important is it to get the most recent data as compared to waiting for the refresh to happen before you can view the screen?

If this is like a stock market app, where only the most up-to-date data has any value, then you probably want the system to auto refresh this for you when you return back to the app. If this is something like a RSS feed. Then having the most recent entries isn't your friend. Not only is the wait annoying, you probably want to return back to the last article you've read and not have the system load in 10 new items and make you lose your place.

What about if the user is currently looking at the data and there's updates?

The user is viewing the data, so you don't want to auto update it on them. What you should do instead is to display a small message indicating data has been updated. This can be dropped from the top just beneath the pull to refresh. This way the user can choose to update should/when they want to.

  • It was clear enough!
    – FR073N
    May 8, 2015 at 7:53

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