Loader/Spinner: Enhancing User Experience During Wait Times

A loader or spinner is a visual indicator used in user interfaces to show that a process or task is ongoing, helping to manage user expectations during wait times. These elements are crucial for maintaining user engagement and providing feedback that an action is being processed.

What is a Loader/Spinner?

A loader or spinner is an animation or graphic that signifies loading or processing is taking place. It is commonly seen when a website or application is fetching data, performing calculations, or completing an action that takes more than a fraction of a second. Loaders are designed to reassure users that the system is working and to prevent them from feeling frustrated or uncertain about the progress of their actions.

Importance of Loaders/Spinners in UX Design

  1. User Feedback: Loaders provide immediate feedback to users that their action has been acknowledged and is being processed, preventing confusion.
  2. Engagement: By indicating progress, loaders help keep users engaged during wait times, reducing the likelihood of them abandoning the task.
  3. Perceived Performance: Even if the actual loading time is not reduced, a well-designed loader can make the wait feel shorter and more bearable.
  4. Professionalism: Loaders contribute to a polished and professional look, demonstrating attention to detail and user experience.

Key Principles of Effective Loader/Spinner Design

  1. Visibility: Ensure the loader is easily visible and stands out from the background, so users can quickly understand that the system is processing their request.
  2. Simplicity: Keep the design simple and non-intrusive. Complex or overly flashy animations can be distracting and counterproductive.
  3. Feedback: Provide clear feedback on the loading status. For long processes, consider using progress indicators or messages to inform users about the status.
  4. Consistency: Use consistent loader designs across the application to create a cohesive user experience.
  5. Performance: Ensure that the loader itself does not significantly impact the performance of the application.

Best Practices for Using Loaders/Spinners

  1. Contextual Placement: Place the loader near the area where the action is taking place. For example, if a user clicks a button to submit a form, display the loader near the button or within the form.
  2. Timing: Display the loader only when necessary. For very short loading times (less than a second), a loader might not be needed. For longer processes, use a loader to indicate progress.
  3. Progress Indicators: For tasks that take longer, consider using a progress bar or percentage indicator to show users how much of the process is complete.
  4. Fallback Content: Provide fallback content or alternative actions if the loading time is expected to be long or if an error occurs.
  5. Avoid Blocking UI: Whenever possible, avoid using loaders that block the entire user interface. Allow users to continue interacting with other parts of the application if appropriate.

Tools and Libraries for Creating Loaders/Spinners

  1. CSS Animations: Simple loaders can be created using CSS animations, which are lightweight and perform well across different devices.
  2. JavaScript Libraries: Libraries such as Spin.js and Ladda provide customizable loader animations that can be easily integrated into web applications.
  3. UI Frameworks: UI frameworks like Bootstrap and Material-UI include built-in loader components that follow design guidelines and are easy to implement.
  4. GIFs and SVGs: Animated GIFs and SVGs can be used for more complex loaders, offering greater flexibility and design options.

Real-World Examples

  1. Google Search: Google uses a simple spinner in the top right corner to indicate when search results are being loaded, providing immediate feedback to users.
  2. YouTube: When buffering videos, YouTube displays a spinner in the center of the video player, clearly indicating that the video is loading.
  3. Facebook: Facebook uses skeleton screens, a type of loading placeholder that mimics the layout of the content that is being loaded, providing a more engaging waiting experience.
  4. E-commerce Sites: Sites like Amazon use loaders during product searches and checkout processes to indicate that data is being fetched or processed, ensuring users remain informed.


Loaders and spinners are essential components in user interface design, providing feedback during wait times and enhancing the overall user experience. By following best practices and utilizing effective design principles, designers can create loaders that are not only functional but also contribute to a polished and professional interface.

Ondrej Zoricak
Ondrej Zoricak