I hate to constantly reference NodeBB when talking about Discourse improvements because I don’t think their product is particularly better overall — but a lot of the feedback I’ve seen can be boiled down to the idea that NodeBB is really fast.
The comparison leads me to wonder if NodeBB is really only appearing to be faster (I’m not even sure if it’s actually faster).
There’s definitely room for subjectivity, but I think some thoughts around the perception of speed from Steve Sounders can be relevant here.
The way topics and topic lists are loaded for example… Discourse isn’t loading an entire new page like a traditional website may, but it does often feel like it is. You click a topic link, and you immediately get a flash of a white page and a loading indicator, which then flashes over to the content once it’s loaded. Logically this is the fastest way to do things.
NodeBB on the other hand pads out their loading through a few fade effects (content fades out and new stuff fades in). I think they’re over-animating it… but you’re definitely looking at a blank screen or loading indicator less (or not at all), and it feels like you’re not waiting as long… you’re not being sent to a waiting room to watch a clock.
From a purely front-end perspective I think reducing the visual importance of the current loading indicator (the black box with the spinner) can help ease minds a little, but I was also curious to see if anyone else had related thoughts…
Could it feel better to overlay a loading indicator on the current page rather than a blank white page?