When content is loading, a blank or static screen can make it seem like your app is frozen, resulting in confusion and frustration, and potentially causing people to leave your app.

Partial screenshot of a Downloads screen in which a song is downloading. A progress bar displayed below the song title and artist shows that the download is about 75% complete and text below the progress bar states 758 MB of 1.0 GB.

Make it clear when loading is occurring. At minimum, show an activity spinner that communicates something is happening. Even better, display explicit progress so people can gauge how long they’ll be waiting.

Show content as soon as possible. Don’t make people wait for content to load before seeing the screen they're expecting. Show the screen immediately, and use placeholder text, graphics, or animations to identify where content isn't available yet. Replace these placeholder elements as the content loads. Whenever possible, preload upcoming content in the background, such as while an animation is playing or the user is navigating a level or menu.

Educate or entertain people to mask loading time. Consider showing hints about gameplay, entertaining video sequences, or interesting placeholder graphics.

Customize loading screens. Although standard progress indicators are usually OK, they can sometimes feel out of context. Consider designing a more immersive experience through custom animations and elements that match the style of your app or game.

For additional guidance, see Progress Indicators.