3 Tricks to Make Users Think Your App Loads Faster

by on 07/22/14 at 10:00 am

When users are on the go, the best mobile app experience is a fast one. Although a mobile device’s connection speed is out of your control, you can still make it seem like your app loads lightning fast. Here are a few tricks to give users the impression that your app always loads fast even under a slow connection.

Instant & Steady Progress Bars

Progress bars tell users how long an action is taking, but they’re not always correct. You can disguise small delays in your progress bar by moving it instant and steady. The progress bar should never stop, otherwise users will think the app froze. Moving the progress bar fast in the beginning and slowing it down as it ends gives users optimistic expectations. Messaging apps are a good example of this. When a user sends a message, the blue progress bar moves instantly, but slows down as it finishes.

3 Tricks to Make Users Think Your App Loads Faster

Background Operations

Another speed trick you can use are background operations. This works by giving users other things to focus on as a process is going on in the background. A good example of this is uploading pictures on Instagram. As soon as the user chooses a picture to share, it starts uploading. The app invites the user to add tags, title and description as the picture uploads in the background. When they’re ready to press the share button, they’re unaware of the upload time and can share their picture instantly.

3 Tricks to Make Users Think Your App Loads Faster

Dummy Content

If the user’s connection is slow, It can take a while for an app to populate content on the screen. Making the user stare at a loading bar or spinning wheel can increase bounce rates. To keep users engaged, use dummy content as text and image placeholders. For example, the Facebook mobile app shows users gray blocks and lines to represent images and text as the app loads. Once it finishes loading, the images and text appear in place of the dummy content. This is no faster than having a loading screen, but in the user’s mind it feels like it is.

3 Tricks to Make Users Think Your App Loads Faster

How fast your app loads is in the mind of the user. When connection speeds are slow, you can still give users a fast mobile app experience by using these tricks. Users don’t want to wait for content. But if you make it seem like they’re never waiting, they’ll always enjoy your app under any connection speed.


3 Tricks to Make Users Think Your App Loads Faster 3 Tricks to Make Users Think Your App Loads Faster

Andy Brattle is a Director at a leading web design company in London, specializing in creative design and branding. He specializes in UX led, responsive design, and is passionate about the power of digital to influence user behavior. You can connect him on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter.

4 Responses to “3 Tricks to Make Users Think Your App Loads Faster”

  1. David

    Jul 24th, 2014

    Very interesting way to engage users and trick them about loading time. Good one!

    • Frank

      Aug 26th, 2014

      Well , it’s not as if we’re actually being fooled. We’re being CONFORTED. The worst case is when we don’t have any indicator that content is being loaded, so we’re not sure if the process is actually stuck. So progressbars help us feel safe. And they’re telling us something is going on. Yes, I’d rather have a realistic progressbar (with a reliable time indicator if possible) but if this can’t be achieved, Let’s have the fake fallback. As long as it makes us feel better, we’re having a better experience, and that counts.

  2. Imperative Ideas

    Jul 31st, 2014

    I’ve never been a fan of trying to trick the end user. While users as a group follow trends, individual users are smart and don’t like being treated like fools.

    The first technique really is a trick and it’s a dangerous one at that because it’s relaying false data.

    The second technique is an engineering technique and has nothing to do with guile.

    The third technique is an old web UX/UI trick from the days of HTML4, when tables would collapse around unloaded images if you didn’t hard-code a size into them. That’s not a trick at all, it’s a layout technique.

  3. ijja

    Aug 4th, 2014

    Very informative, thanks for the article

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