An article from The Verge regarding Uber's new loading animation

over 7 years ago from

Bit of a freeform rant here.

The Verge posted this, titled: 'Uber’s app takes longer to open thanks to its new logo'.

The author, Micah Singleton, is claiming that Uber's app takes longer to load because of the loading animation in the beginning. Although I have not tested this myself (and I'm confident the author did not either), I have a feeling that the loading animation only masks the actual loading time by replacing the more or less static screen that used to be there.

Not only are they strongly accusing them of something that is probably false, they are doing it in a very patronizing way that is a little infuriating:

"Well, someone forgot to check on the most important factor when it comes to making major changes to an app that millions of people use on a daily basis — the load time."

To think that someone 'forgot' to check to see if the loading animation artificially increases loading time, at a company at a scale as Uber's, is very unrealistic. If it were true, I would be shocked that something like that would happen at Uber.

I've called themout on this, but no response. Of course this is not the end of the world, and this is The Verge we're talking about (not where I would expect high rigour in journalism), but it still makes me a little confused, especially given that many designers use animations as a tool to improve perceived loading speeds, not the opposite.

Would love to hear your thoughts. Bonus points if you can test this to actually prove whether it takes longer to cold start the app or not.



  • Sam Mogil, over 7 years ago

    After reading this article, I decided to run a quick test before updated my uber app.

    Old Uber App load (about 10 seconds): http://recordit.co/Yauqe21ogx

    New Uber App load (about 10 seconds): http://recordit.co/iNuriy75h1

    What I like least about the rebrand is the new app logo. They had the most recognizable logo in the world, yet they decided to flip the U? Doesn't make much sense to me.

    11 points
    • Jeff Shin, over 7 years ago

      Wow - kudos to you for recording your tests. Seems like in the new app load, the clockwise fill animation triggered again (due to slow internet, or something) which means that the animation is purely a loading mask, as I suspected.

      And I agree with you re: the app logo. Very questionable, and not sure if it was executed very well.

      1 point
      • Sam Mogil, over 7 years ago

        I force-quit the app before running both tests, which is likely why the fill animation was triggered. The animation does not get triggered when the app is backgrounded and re-opened, making this more or less a moot point.

        1 point
    • Johnson VinoJohnson Vino, over 7 years ago

      Very nice man

      0 points
    • Ruban KhalidRuban Khalid, over 7 years ago

      Nice one bruh!

      0 points
    • Powers Gray, over 7 years ago

      With "Reduce Motion" enabled the animation doesn't even load and you're up and running in 4 seconds.

      1 point
  • John PJohn P, over 7 years ago

    This is why Facebook switched to an Apple style loader for their app when it was that crummy hacked together webview solution.

    During testing they discovered the Apple loader placed the users blame of slowness on Apple while their style loader placed the blame on Facebook.

    There is a good reason why websites ditched elaborate flashy loaders. Not too sure why designers are insisting on repeating the mistakes of the past just because they've re-learnt some animation tools.

    3 points
  • Mattan IngramMattan Ingram, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

    While in principle I agree with you, I just opened the new Uber app and it definitely felt like it took longer than previous to reach the map screen.

    I have no hard stats to provide, but perception is important as well.

    It's also a silly loading animation.

    3 points
    • Brian ZaikBrian Zaik, over 7 years ago

      Agreed. There are ways to mask loading that make it seem like apps are faster than they really are, but this is not one of them. It makes the app seem like it is slower to load.

      1 point
  • Jacob TaylorJacob Taylor, over 7 years ago

    While I know that it doesn't load any slower, it certainly feels that way. And when it comes to this sort of stuff, perception is all that matters.

    2 points
  • Oscar von HauskeOscar von Hauske, over 7 years ago

    Great journalism!!

    1 point
  • Justin Schier, over 7 years ago

    I actually want to know HOW they did the new animated loading screen.

    Anyone know? It looks like animated vectors to me, but I wouldn't even know how to start with that. I guess it could be video too but it feels more vector-y and too sharp to be video.

    I'd love any leads you guys have about how to go about achieving a similar effect.

    0 points
  • Taylor LingTaylor Ling, over 7 years ago

    I think as Jacob Taylor mentioned, this is a classic case of 'perceived' speed vs 'real time' speed - if you ask me, the previous loading screen does give a feeling that the app is already started working after launch (the growing ping animation) and detecting the location and what's not, and the transition into the map view is a direct fade in, which can be translated as 'seamless'. While the new one focused a little bit too much on the branding animation/showcase, and the transition into the map view have had some 'perceived' delay (the expanding pin, the sliding address bar etc.), and I think all these can potentially give the non-designer the feeling that the app is taking it's own sweet time to launch. Both seems to use the same amount of time to launch according to Sam's recording, but I guess if you ask a normal people to compare them, I bet they will say the new one take slightly longer than the previous one.

    0 points
  • Dmitrij PaskevicDmitrij Paskevic, over 7 years ago

    Hate to generalise, but The Verge rants about everything these days. Also it's such a first world problem, jeez..

    0 points
  • Malte NuhnMalte Nuhn, over 7 years ago

    ... or maybe they're just testing patience to see if they could squeeze a pre-roll ad in there. Wouldn't necessarily put it past Uber ;)

    0 points
  • Malte NuhnMalte Nuhn, over 7 years ago

    I wonder if it also serves the purpose of getting a more accurate GPS reading to prevent mistaken-origin bookings.

    I've not infrequently opened the app, hit 'book', only to realize after the booking that my GPS radius was huge and my blue dot was still moving around to where I actually was. Very annoying to then cancel booking and re-request.

    0 points