One of the most frustrating things to experience when surfing the web is to click on a link and wait for the page to open, only to see a “spinner” indicating that the content still needs to load. This is like listening to a public speaker with a bad case of hiccups. It makes for an uncomfortable user experience, especially on a forum where the process repeats itself for every. single. page. view. It quickly becomes painful.
This technique is known as “asynchronous loading” and there are times when it makes sense. For example, it is commonly used to load recent Tweets from Twitter onto an external site. The main page loads, and then a small amount of extra content is fetched from Twitter. This seems reasonable.
It is almost impossible to believe that any web programmer would condone the use a “loading…” spinner for ALL of the content on a normal page load. But it happens. Several forum platforms utilize this approach, although it is not clear why.
Perhaps faster page loads are the goal but in our experience, asynchronous pages take longer to load than most Ninja Post pages. Besides, who cares about a fast load time if it ends with a jolt to the user? Ninja Post is designed to make forum pages load quickly, not to get the user’s hopes up by displaying a series of “still loading” spinners that ultimately make for an agonizing user experience.
One example of a forum that loads content like this is from the ESPN forums. Try opening this thread, for example. We grabbed some screen caps below to show how painful it is just to view one thread.