A website preloader is a loading CSS animation that shows on your screen while the main app or website is loading in the background.
The advantage of using a preloader is that you can show it in the browser as an overlay which you can move around as well.
There are many different preloaders but most of the major ones such as the Google home page and Facebook’s are called ‘static’ preloaders.
The big disadvantage of using a static preloader is that it may confuse users into thinking that the page is loading immediately while in reality, it is loading in the background.
Luckily there is another way that allows you to preload your app without you worrying that your users may not know what’s going on. This way you can use the primary technique for presenting your content in a flash while still creating a nice interactive loading animation.
Types of Preloaders
Preloaders come in all shapes and sizes. The most common type of preloader is the static one. It’s perfect for building a lot of demos and give users a taste of what’s to come, but not a lot of time before they get to the content.
Animated CSS Loaders
One very common type of preloader is the animated CSS loader. They are typically part of a CSS animation library.
CSS animations are the future and are usually handled in a jQuery plugin or built into CSS polyfills.
Benefits of using preloaders
Let’s take a look at the main benefits of using a preloader.
A preloader Offers Better Perceived Performance
A dynamic loading effect may be the reason why users are reluctant to wait until a website is fully loading. A preloader should usually appear at the very beginning of your page while your page is loading. By loading a preloader in this way users will be able to see how your page is going to look once it is completely finished loading. This will give you better perceived performance because your users will be able to use their time in the meantime to enjoy what you have to offer.
A preloader gives your product or website a more professional look
A preloader can be viewed as an overlay. By using a full screen preloader, users won’t feel like they are seeing the same thing, as you have changed the view to something different. The preloader can be a simple icon, pattern or SVG which gives your users a better understanding of what they are going to get. A good preloader can also be animated to show you a preview of what the final page looks like, giving users a preview of what they are about to see.
A Preloader Helps Branding
A preloader can have a clear message for your users. It can be an action you want them to perform such as like and share, which can also be used as a call to action. This action could be taken on your site, linked in your social media profiles or done on the preloader itself, just like in the image below.
Animated CSS loaders are super easy to implement, which makes them perfect for content-heavy websites, such as your portfolio, ecommerce website, etc.
Preloader Animations Can Decrease Bounce Rates
A good preloader animation can decrease bounce rates. A bounce rate is the number of times the user will leave your website before they get to the content. Bounce rates can be a huge problem for any business and preloader animations can help you a lot. A preloader animation should be short and sweet. It shouldn’t take a lot of time for users to understand what to do, so users won’t leave your website after the preloader has finished loading.
Preloaders can increase conversions
In addition to increasing your perceived performance, a preloader animation can also help with conversions. A preloader animation could tell the user what to do. A preloader animation could draw attention to a point in the page that users may not be looking at, and draw their attention there. This could result in conversions, such as a person clicking a button, which results in them becoming a customer.
Preloading has become a standard tool for delivering dynamic content on the web. Many companies use preloaders to add a splash of extra content to their website, making it super user-friendly and exciting for your users to see.