Posted in Strategy on by Joshua Davis

Everyone knows what it’s like to wait on a load bar. With the rise of broadband, our appetite for large multimedia content has also risen. As such, the load bar seems to be in the cards as a major part of our interactive experiences for the time being.

We’re always looking for ways to build a better experience, and finding better ways to load a website is part of that. A recent improvement was introducing two “layers” of motion in our loading animations. For example – if the loader pulses, then it also needs to turn. If something gives a percentage read, then it also needs to _______.

This second layer of activity engages the eye and in turn gives the impression that time is passing more quickly. We rarely deal with more than a 10 second wait, but patience grows thin on the web. It’s like the 60 second burrito that took way too long; I am hungry!

A PhD student at Carnegie Mellon has put out some research that reinforces that idea. Download time was perceived to be 11% quicker when the progress bar’s animation met certain criteria.

“The conclusions are clear: Pulsating bars that speed up as the “progress” nears completion fooled the viewers into thinking it was taking less time. A significant proportion of volunteers then indicated that left-moving undulations were much more effective at “time dilation” than right-moving ones.”