Was pretty amused with the boot screen for Android Marshmallow, using 4 separate animations as preloaders. Would you consider this an overkill or is it better than having a single loading animation?
To me it is an overkill, at least in terms of the cognitive load. The app hasn't started yet, and the user was already loaded with four pretty complex different processes merging into yet another one.
It is quite pleasant to look at for entertainment, on purpose, but not when you are waiting through something fairly ancillary to get to something important.
I personally would trade it for 3-sec (or was it 5?) fade-in-fade-out Windows animation any minute.
This type of loader may not be overkill, in it's context. If this was a loader for something within an application for completing a simple task, then I'd say there is definitely too much going on, but this is for the boot screen, and it may work in this case.
I think one of the main reasons this works well is that it changes the user's perception of time by distracting them. When you try booting up some of your most used devices, you may say that it takes a long time to do so, but in reality, it's not that long. This is because our perception of a long time in that situation is actually only a few seconds to 1-2 minutes, mainly trained from today’s age of instant gratification. When boot screens, and other applications/software, use simple loading screens with not much activity going on, the user can get easily bored and also frustrated when it does not load within a few seconds.
An excerpt from an article on Usabilla:
Unoccupied time feels longer than occupied time
First of all, make sure your visitors don’t get bored while waiting. If we have to wait for something in the offline world, there are (1) a lot of things to distract us and (2) we usually wait long enough to have time for distraction.
Taking that into account, here is a few benefits I see in Android's loader...
By using a fancy looking loading screen it definitely changes moods, and get's the user looking. Bright colors, happy things, and fast moving parts — perceived as "Hey, there is a lot fast things going on, check out all these nifty animations," changing their alternative mindset of "When is this going to finish?"
There is a lot going on in the loaders, and it may be initially confusing — but maybe that's the point? You need to engage the user in these loaders to achieve the change of their perception of time, so making a lot of crazy looking loaders may be the attraction, and poses a challenge to the user to figure out what all of them are doing, occupying their time while they wait, going back to the previous point made about unoccupied time.
By the time the user is finished evaluating all the flashy loaders, the boot screen is finished and they are thinking, "Oh, it's done already!"
Going back to the description of the loaders, they are fast, and do cool things, these may not be full on features to what the operating system can offer, but it's easy enough to understand that they can expect those same qualities in the tasks they do in the device, which can get new users excited to jump in and start messing around with stuff.
With that however, there is certainly concern that these benefits are great for the initial user, but won't have much affect to a person that has seen it a dozen times over, but I'll consider this; the boot screen is usually a process that isn't done every day, only every so often the user needs to be faced with that screen, so in this case, unless they are restarting their phones everyday, the screen won't seem so familiar when they next see it, and even so, it still provides a distraction method, in hopes of still achieving the change in our perception of time.
That is my wrap up, hope it covered most of what you were looking for.
I liked it more than
or older Android default preloader theme because
Also, I found it confusing because
Having said this, I don't own an Android Marshmallow phone so cannot comment on whether (or how) it has any impact on booting performance. For all I know, this theme might be put in place to set the tone for rest of Android Marshmallow experience since we all know how much Google has been pushing for Material design and has been making subtle changes in their apps since last couple of years.
The only risk of using this more complicated animation is that users might think it is redundant.
"Is the OS actually still loading or is this just a fancy, gratuitously long launch screen?"
I feel a simpler animation would eradicate any doubt about that, particularly if it's consistent with the other preloaders Google's using now.