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We have just released a new version of our app and the feedback I have got is:

Issue with the app loading too fast when user is takin an action

Problem: The app is reloading so fast when users take an action (e.g: Selecting a different day) that they don’t even have the time to read what is in the yellow box ("Finding cinemas at the selected location...").

Expected behaviour: User should have the time to read what is in the box. We should only see the yellow box with loader.

This is the UI in question:

loader is too fast

(It doesn't show it accurately in the gif due to low FPS. The loader is taking about 100ms.)

How do indicate that the content in the list has been updated and avoid the blinking content effect (note that a lot of the time content remains the same after a loader)?

  • Can you make it load more slowly? – Matt Smith Feb 11 '16 at 18:39
  • @MattSmith Of course I can. But would it be reasonable to slowdown user experience to enable him to read message "Loading content"? Sounds ironic to me. – Gajus Feb 11 '16 at 18:40
  • Usually I would say no but it sounds like the user experience in this case is degraded because of the speed. EDIT: also I have found in my own experience that a UI feels more "credible" if it takes a second or two to show the user that it is doing some work behind the scenes. – Matt Smith Feb 11 '16 at 18:42
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    @Gajus on the topic of artificially increasing loading times there are a couple topics on it if you want to consider that route: Should I leave a delay to allow people to read my loading messages?, Adding delays to increase perceived value - MattSmith The second link speaks to that perceived "credibility" you're feeling. – DasBeasto Feb 11 '16 at 18:45
  • "Adding delays to increase perceived value: does it work?" is an interesting read. Though the consensus seems that it is not something that works well online. – Gajus Feb 11 '16 at 19:22
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Users don't want to watch and read the loader text, they want to get the results.

The only usability problem in your case is the lack of feedback. When content is loaded too fast, the results could be non-obvious due to change blindness:

Change blindness is the tendency of people to overlook alterations in images, especially when those changes appear immediately after a visual interruption such as a flickering screen.

You can read on techniques to avoid the change blindness in the article.

My preference is to use transition: the points are faded out a bit, and then search results is faded in. I used this approach it a similar case, and it worked good.

Some notes:
1. You need not to hide the points completely. Changing opacity from 1 to 0.4 is noticeable enough.
2. Use transition effect for about 0.3-0.5s. It's noticeable enough.
3. If you really need to notify user in some explisit way, use toast notification.

  • "You need not to hide the points completely. Changing opacity from 1 to 0.4 is noticeable enough." That is very smart suggestion. Thank you. – Gajus Feb 11 '16 at 22:13
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If very fast, maybe you could only keep the yellow loader and get rid of the text.

When slow, add the text back in the loader

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If you remove the spinner, the list should updated in a blink. The complete list would be there before user notice anything out of ordinary. If you're sure that this is going to happen (e.g for cases when you're updating list from cache or just sorting it), don't show a spinner at all (like you just said in question, without a loader)

But then the problem is that user might not notice that list has updated at all (you know, users). To convey that new content has loaded, you can bring a visible change in the list, something clearly visible which would whisper in users' ears that this list has been through some change. One example could be to change the background color of the list (not the list items, I mean the greyish area, not the white part) to your app's usual $active-color or a more alpha version of that. This color can then fade away gradually over 1-3s. That way even if user take many actions right one after other it won't be intrusive, neither would it be jumpy like a loader which replaces the complete list.

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