Skeleton Indicator: Bridging the Gap Between Expectation and Reality

October 23, 2023

In an era where instant gratification is the norm, the digital realm is not spared from the impatience of users. A delay in loading content can lead to a significant drop in user engagement and satisfaction. This is where the Skeleton indicator, a modern UI design pattern, steps in as a silent crusader, making the wait less tedious and more engaging.

1. Unveiling the Skeleton Indicator

The Skeleton indicator, more commonly referred to as a skeleton screen, is a design pattern that has gained prominence in UI design. It aims to combat the inherent loading times of web pages and applications by enhancing the perceived performance.

2. The Mechanism Behind Skeleton Indicators

Skeleton indicators serve as visual placeholders during the loading phase. They present a wireframe-like visual that mirrors the layout of the page, providing a simplified or blank version where information gradually populates as it becomes available.

Visual Placeholder:

Skeleton screens create a sense of anticipation, unlike traditional loading indicators that merely focus on the wait. They provide a visual cue of the content that's about to be loaded, making the application feel snappier to the user.

Shimmer Effect:

Some modern implementations, like Angular Skeleton, employ a shimmer effect, which shows a preview of how the page will be displayed, adding a dynamic feel to the loading phase.

3. Enhancing User Experience

The primary advantage of skeleton indicators is the substantial improvement in user experience. By reducing the uncertainty associated with waiting for content to load, skeleton indicators keep the user engaged and less likely to abandon the page.

Creating Anticipation:

The skeleton screen creates a sense of anticipation for the content that will be displayed, which can be psychologically pleasing to the user, making the wait less daunting.

4. Diverse Implementations Across Frameworks

The implementation of skeleton indicators is not confined to a single framework or library. Various frameworks provide their unique take on skeleton indicators, enriching the user experience with additional features.

Example Implementations:

  • Angular Skeleton offers a modern data-loading indicator with a shimmer effect.
  • KendoReact’s Skeleton Component is another exemplary implementation used to build loading screens, displaying a simplified version of a page or component while the actual content is being loaded.

5. Shining in Full Page Loads

Skeleton indicators are particularly beneficial in full-page loads, where they provide a wireframe-like visual that mimics the entire page layout. This gives users a preview of the page structure, setting the right expectations for what’s to come once the page is fully loaded.

6. Future of Skeleton Indicators

With the continuous evolution in UI/UX design, skeleton indicators are poised to evolve with additional features and implementations across different frameworks, contributing to smoother user experiences in the digital domain.

7. Code Example: Implementing a Skeleton Indicator in React

In this section, we'll explore a simple implementation of a skeleton indicator in React. We'll create a component that will display a skeleton screen when data is being loaded and the actual content once the data has been fetched.

Step 1: Install Necessary Packages

First, we'll need to install a package that will help us create the skeleton screen. One such package is react-loading-skeleton.

Step 2: Create a Skeleton Component

Now, we'll create a skeleton component that will be displayed while data is being loaded.

Step 3: Fetch Data and Render Content

Next, we'll create a component that fetches data from an API and renders either the skeleton component or the actual content based on the loading state.

In this example, the ContentComponent initially renders the SkeletonComponent while data is being loaded. Once the data is fetched, it renders the actual content. The react-loading-skeleton library is used to create a simple skeleton screen that acts as a placeholder until the actual content is ready to be displayed.


Skeleton indicators are an invaluable asset in modern UI design, ensuring better user engagement and satisfaction during content loading processes. Their ability to provide visual engagement, combined with the enhanced user experience they offer, underscores their significance in the toolkit of every UI/UX designer. Through various implementations across diverse frameworks, skeleton indicators continue to evolve, promising a more enjoyable user experience in the digital realm.

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