The Curse of Circular Loading

Circular uploading

I know these kind of circular ‘loading’ devices are very trendy.

But they should only be used when the delay is likely to be a couple of seconds maximum. They are absolutely shit at everything else.

I’ve just been faced with a screen which I know is trying to download some HD video, and I’ve got absolutely no idea how long I need to sit there for. At least a really untrendy horizontal loading bar or percentage indicator would let me know whether I’ve got time to make a cup of tea…

I know I shouldn’t get upset by this kind of thing. But I do.

11 thoughts on “The Curse of Circular Loading”

  1. I’ve seen more and more of them since OS X has been becoming more and more popular, web designers with no imagination just appear to use inspiration from the UI they’re making the site/flash with I guess…

    Say hello to Dom for me!


  2. Iain, you should know by now – you should *always* make enough time to stick the kettle on, however big the download.

  3. If your marketing doesn’t pass usability testing, then you’re wasting your time and destroying your reputation.

  4. Holy cow, I was just complaining about this to someone the other day.

    At the bottom of it all is laziness on the part of the designer or programmer. Coding in something that changes the progress bar based on actual downloading progress takes more time/effort (even if only a little) than throwing in some repeating graphic that just says “it’ll be ready when its ready.” Grrrrr.

  5. John,

    By usability testing I’m assuming you mean ‘showing it to the client on a bloody big pipe in the boardroom with a octo-processor Intel quad-core-liquid-cooled behemoth’ connected to a full HD plasma with ultimate-darkness black engine?


  6. I quite like the mystery. it reminds me of the old days when you used to post things with ‘Royal Male’ as i believe he was called. Your item would then be delivered within 48 days to any location in the British Isles by the Prince Regent (hence Royal).

    I’m 94% sure there’s no mystery in a percentage.

  7. I hear ya Matt – it’s a state of mind. Like enjoying the randomness of pops and crackles in an old vinyl record. It ads texture to our life. An element of excitement in a world of boring certainty.

    I shall enjoy them from now on, and if it starts playing while I’m making tea, so be it!

  8. I see your point. But there’s worse: screenshots of the circular loading thing, where you’re thinking “I not only hate the circular loading thing, but this one isn’t even doing anything!”

  9. Exactly – you just have to show proof of concept. Their infrastructure and hence their reputation is the responsibiltiy of their marketing and IT departments. :O)

  10. If your marketing doesn't pass usability testing, then you're wasting your time and destroying your reputation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.