What is the best perceived UX for mobile applications which require data downloaded midway through the journey. I cannot find this information online in Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines (or I am looking in the wrong place if so), nor Google’s Material Design Guidelines.
Given the following scenario: say I have a contact list which contains a name, I then click on the contact and, in a successful scenario, the Contact Details are downloaded from the server (which contains more information on the selected contact), and that information is displayed.
However, this information may not be obtained each time (e.g. because of network coverage on a mobile device) and so an error occurs. What is best in terms of UX?
Display a “loading” animation; attempt to download the data; and display an error while remaining on the contact list. This saves unnecessary navigation, but can be perceived as nothing at all happening and in the worst case scenario, it looks like the app cannot even navigate to the user details screen. This also goes against MVC guidelines from a code perspective.
Navigate to the page; display “skeleton” text and/or an animation to indicate at least the user’s action has been recognised… but in the event of an error is it best to display the error and:
a. Navigate back to the Contact list; or
b. Remain on the Contact Detail page.
I mention MVC above, because each page should only be interested in the data it downloads and displays/handles and if item (1) above is the desired experience, the Contact details will need to be downloaded prior to being handed off to that page, which kind of goes against this pattern.
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