UI Inspiration: Captivating Concepts of Loading Animation

Loading… It’s a bit boring, isn’t it? There’s probably something else you’d rather be doing? Queuing or waiting for something to happen is just a factor of life for modern-day humans as we upload, download, and share data on a daily basis. This void of nothingness and inefficiency can often give off negative connotations, especially when trying to get on with our lives trying to install the latest phone update. But just as with anything in this creative world, creativity has yet again found a negative to turn into a positive. Welcome to Loading… animation, a world of conceptual thought!

Short and snappy animation loops or gif animation fill in those dull moments with energized kinetic movement, color, and abstract creativity, bending the rules and putting a stop to boring loading screens. In this article, we will find out just how mind-bending some of these loading animations can be and how they can generate positive feedback for your projects to become a little more user-friendly.

The impact of loading animation on user experience

Loading animations are an integral part of the user experience, no matter the kind of development project. It can sometimes be a nice break for the user. And since waiting times are getting shorter and shorter as technology progresses, sometimes these short waits are welcomed, especially when you get surprised by how creative and thoughtful some of these loading screens truly are. The simplicity of a moment such as this has almost created a connection between the user and the app or program on a more complex level than ever before, using tantalizing animation to inspire and impress. Perhaps you will remember how laboring waiting used to be, staring at the same old loading progress message on the old Windows or Mac desktop. It was enough to send a generation insane!

As well as making the experience as pain-free as possible, it has also become an opportunity for corporations to strengthen their identity, perhaps featuring their logo as a centerpiece for the loading animation. This, together with a genius animation concept, can make for a memorable experience, further strengthening the brand’s identity in a repetitive loop.

Types of loading animations and their usability

Apps have seen an explosion of UX design projects and along with it, a tsunami of innovative loading screens. In this void of connecting with the user, there is a time and a place for any kind of loading experience. From storytelling animations to simple circular loops, there is everything in between to deliver the right setting for users to wait, happily. Let’s take a moment to fully understand the categories and see which one would suit your projects.

  • Circular progress indicators
  • Linear progress indicators
  • Animated backgrounds
  • Skeleton screen

Circular progress indicators

An animated spin has been the staple for many loading screens, undoubtedly becoming a symbolic experience for all of us, whether it’s a spinning timer, wheel, or even a ballerina. These more simple designs are a subtle indicator to the user that progress is underway. However, they don’t track progress unless accompanied by such information, perhaps a percentage or linear progress bar. What’s evident is you can be as creative as you like when creating one. However, the more complex the job, the more likely it will weigh down on your file sizes, so keeping it to a minimum is highly recommended. These types of progress indicators are most popular when loading:

  • A page on a website
  • A page in an app
  • Downloading
  • Uploading
  • Searching
  • Short updates
  • Streaming service
  • A gaming lobby
  • A digital service

You can get started on creating your very own circular progress animation by downloading from an archive of loading icons available here in Flaticon.

Linear progress indicators

Another very popular alternative is using a more informal method. Linear progress indicators will provide users with a visual that tracks the progress of the loading screen using all manner of methods in which to do so. Fill-up bars, circular tubes, fluctuating color gradients, and even pizzas cut up in fractions. This loading variant is more commonly used when installing an update or something with more data that requires more of your time to progress. This courtesy to the user will boost the functionality of a developed product, enriching the user experience at the expense of creativity. Linear progress indicators are commonly observed when loading:

  • Update on any device
  • An app onto any device
  • A heavy website page
  • Streaming service
  • A data transfer service

Animated background

To keep users fixated, a more engaging approach might be more appropriate. An animated background will fill the screen with color and movement, the perfect distraction upon anticipating what’s around the corner. Depending on the circumstances the user finds themselves in, this is a chance to impress, with a glimpse of things to come, perhaps a chance for some brand awareness, or just an opportunity to show off some creative encouragement. In more particular circumstances, the loading animation could be part of a narrative, whereby information or visuals are provided to support the experience. Such experiences are usually found in much larger projects, the likes of gaming or an interactive learning experience.

Skeleton Screen

This spooky name is simply describing the action of blurring or partial transparency of a page in progress. It gives users the chance to envisage what’s to come, whether it’s the outline of a social media feed or a form you need to fill out online. Such methods are very common, especially on websites with a range of products to sell. In more practical situations, images could load up first, giving viewers something to look at while the rest of the page lights up. To keep guests from guessing what’s happening, the loading skeleton screen is often accompanied by a simple linear progress bar, a visual cue to notify more is to come.

Choosing the right method is crucial to keep some of your guests from leaving your product entirely, lining up your choice with the overall strategy of your project. Perhaps the loading screen will strengthen your user’s experience!

Creative approaches to loading animations

This is where skill, conceptual practice, and creativity all combine to create some truly mesmerizing loops and sequences. However, there are a multitude of avenues your animation can go down to leave your users feeling satisfied. But not too satisfied. Getting the delivery right is all part of what makes your loading animation a success or not. Therefore take into consideration the kind of suspense you would like for your user’s experience. You can get plenty of idea’s taking a look at tried and tested designs available on Freepik.

Keeping it simple

In most cases, simple is best. It might not be right up there on the agenda lists to create the most incredible experience while loading a product page or downloading a new update. Therefore, keeping things on the down-low can be more beneficial. It can also make for keeping your file sizes down for the benefit of a bigger project, thus making your application, program, or website perform better. For the past decade at least, minimalism has reigned supreme across the board in the design world. Simple shapes and actions that are straight to the point can be accepted by everyone, minimizing the risk of someone not enjoying your loading design.


Perhaps something snappy and entertaining is what you are after. Energized shapes and elements interacting with one another can be a captivating experience for anyone, and you can also have great fun creating them. It is these types of loading animations that push the envelope since the possibilities are virtually endless, so much so that it can become an exercise to experiment with out-of-this-world concepts and ideas that tend to surprise and impress. Whether it’s animating elements around a circular progress indicator, dressing up a linear progress bar to look more interactive, or creating an animated sequence, throwing in some color and energy will draw the attention of the user, helping them stick around for as long as their attention will let them.

A more formal approach

Of course, there is a time and a place for cranking up the volume, and it’s sometimes more appropriate to keep things a little more conservative. Perhaps your delivery needs to be more assertive, as in the case of app downloads that target a professional audience. This is achieved by showing visual language that is more to the point and decisive. Using a less vibrant color palette and cleaner elements can convey such importance to your loading screen. However, this doesn’t mean that your loading animation should be boring. You can put the user in check by applying subtle effects to simple animated shapes, such as a drop shadow or color gradient to simply convey the correct tone.


There is a chance your loading screen is part of something much bigger. This is very prevalent in the gaming industry or any situation where data needs to be loaded to continue a set-out narrative. In such cases, when loading the next chapter, perhaps supporting elements to the story may fulfill the transition between each chapter. In other more complex projects, you could use the loading experience as an interlude whereby supporting information or visuals are presented to keep the experience continuous, providing a seamless experience.

Creatives examples

Now let’s take a look at some of these loading animations in action!

Simple circular progress indicator

Simple circular progress indicator for loading animation


Check out this fine example of a circular progress indicator. Perfect for leaving users in short suspense as they wait for an app page to load or maybe even a quick upload of an image. This very common style helps users instantly recognize where they are, and with simple edits, you can make them as unique as you want!

Progressive circular progress indicator supported with a linear indicator

Progressive circular progress indicator supported with a linear indicator for a loading animation

This more interesting concept uses both circular and linear indicators to keep the user informed of how long they will wait. With a mechanized pendulum swinging in perfect harmony, the stress of waiting around will be greatly reduced, leaving them feeling somewhat relaxed.

Linear progress indicator with animated background

Linear progress indicator with animated background for a loading animation

For a highly engaging experience, a background animation might be exactly what you need. This striking example, accompanied by a linear progress bar, is the ultimate loading experience. However, its complexity could hinder the flow of an interactive experience, so use this method wisely.

Loading times have never been so fun and entertaining. With so much scope for creativity you could take your loading animation projects far beyond what you thought was possible and with so much talent out there, none of us can wait to see what our next loading screen could look like. Be brave, be bold and create something memorable.