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Perceived Performance

CHI 2016 logo

As part of the graduate course "Behavior and Information Technology," my team conducted a research study on the perceived performance of software as affected by different types of loading screens (e.g. progress bar, animation, etc.). The resulting paper has been accepted to the CHI 2016 conference where I presented the project as Late Breaking Work.

perceived performance: how quickly software appears to perform a given task; an integral element of building user trust and holding attention


Loading screens are unavoidable in modern software applications, and providing graphical user feedback during wait times is a well-established way to increase perceived performance. Previous research has indicated that perceived performance is essential to the success of an application, and progress bars have been specifically shown to decrease perceived wait time. This study is the first to examine the effect of animated loading screens on perceived wait time as compared to the popular progress bar. Study participants compared a progress bar with both a passive and interactive animation. Results suggest that with an interactive animation, perceived wait time is shorter and user satisfaction is higher than with a progress bar or passive animation.

Use this link to read the full paper as a PDF.

Research Questions:

Which loading screen do users perceive as fastest?

Which loading screen is most enjoyable for users?

CHI 2016 logo

We showed each of the above loading screens to participants between pages of our surveyand asked them questions about how fast or slow they thought each screen took to load as well as how much they liked or disliked the loading screen. (Each screen was shown for the same amount of time.) At the end of the survey, we asked them to compare all three screens together to see which one was perceived as fastest of the three.


Perceived wait time decreased and user satisfaction generally increased with an interactive animation compared with a progress bar and a passive animation. We suggest that designers give users a simple, non-temporal task to perform during wait times.

Download or view the project poster:

CHI 2016 project poster