Intro

A circular progress indicator is a visual element that displays the status of ongoing processes, such as logging in, uploading files, or refreshing content in a circular shape. It typically consists of a circular track and a moving indicator that fills up the track as the progress increases.

Content refresh with circular progress indicator (left) and partial loading with circular progress indicator (right)
Content refresh with circular progress indicator (left) and partial loading with circular progress indicator (right)

Usage

Do
  • Use a circular progress indicator if the wait time exceeds one second. 
  • Use a circular progress indicator for the following scenarios: 
    • User-triggered content refresh by pulling down or up. 
    • Partial screen loading that requires blocking user interactions. 
    • Full-screen processing, such as during payment checkout. 
  • Use only one indicator type for each activity in an app, for example, if a circular indicator represents a refresh action on a screen, a linear indicator should not be used for the same action elsewhere in the app. 
  • Keep labels short – we recommend one line of text. 
  • For determinate indicators, include a progress value at the end of the label, for example, 60%, 30/100 etc.
  • Labels are mandatory for error and success states.
Don't
  • Don’t transition from a circular to a linear progress indicator or vice versa. 
  • Don’t use labels when a loading process takes less than 10 seconds, or when the height or the width is too constrained.  
  • Try to avoid using progress indicators with two lines of text. Wrapping is not recommended and is only available for compact window sizes. 
  • Don’t display a progress value for error/fail and success states. 

Anatomy 

Active State

A. Indicator

B. Track

C. Label (Optional)

Anatomy of determinate and indeterminate circular progress indicators in active state
Anatomy of determinate and indeterminate circular progress indicators in active state

Value State

A. Indicator (Hidden by Track)

B. Track

C. Validation Message

Anatomy of circular progress indicators in error/fail (left) and success state (right)
Anatomy of circular progress indicators in error/fail (left) and success state (right)

Behavior and Interaction 

Text Wrapping (Only for Mobile)  

Labels are optional and should only be used when the process takes 10 seconds or more. They should be concise and, ideally, not exceed one line of text.  

If the length of the text exceeds the available space, the text wraps into the next line and the progress indicator will keep its position on the top. Wrapping is not recommended and is only available for mobile window sizes ranging from 0-599 dp. Labels can’t exceed two lines of text. 

Text wrapping example of a circular progress indicator
Text wrapping example of a circular progress indicator

Value States

Error/Fail State 

If an error occurs or a process fails, the loading animation stops. The indicator turns red and the entire track fills with the error color. 

Labels are mandatory and should always inform the user what kind of error/fail happened and how this issue can be resolved. The message should be as concise as possible. Follow the guideline for indicators with a label.

Error/fail state behavior of a circular progress indicator
Error/fail state behavior of a circular progress indicator

Success State

The success state appears after the successful completion of a process or request. The indicator turns red and the entire track fills with the success color.

Depending on the use case, you can choose one of the following options for the success indicator 

  • Persisting until the user triggers another action, such as closing or changing screens 
  • Disappearing after 3 seconds 

Labels are mandatory for the success message and should be concise. A short information about the completed process or the executed action is sufficient, for example, “Download completed”. One line of text is recommended. 

 

Success state behavior of a circular progress indicator
Success state behavior of a circular progress indicator

Swipe-to-Refresh

The circular loading indicator appears at the top of the existing content when the user triggers the content refresh by swiping down the page. This action loads new data from the server and displays it in the interface. The indicator disappears once the loading process is complete, or when the user navigates away from the content that is being refreshed.

The swipe-to-refresh behavior should be used with dynamic content sorted in descending order. In these cases, the most recent content always appears on top. Common examples are inboxes sorted by descending date, or other types of lists and card collections.

Swipe-down behavior of the circular progress indicator
Swipe-down behavior of the circular progress indicator

Scroll Up to Load

The circular loading indicator appears at the bottom of the existing content when a user scrolls beyond the end of the data that the application has loaded in memory. The indicator disappears when the loading process is complete, or when the user navigates away from the content that is being refreshed.

 Scroll-up behavior of the circular progress indicator
Scroll-up behavior of the circular progress indicator

Variations 

Circular progress indicators display progress by animating an indicator along an invisible circular track in a clockwise direction. They can be applied directly to a surface or a card. 

A. Determinate

The determinate circular indicator moves from 0 to 360 degrees along an invisible circular track and fills it with color. Use this variation when the process completion can be determined.

Determinate circular progress indicator
Determinate circular progress indicator

B. Indeterminate

Indeterminate circular progress indicators grow and shrink in size as they move along an invisible track. They should be used when the process completion can’t be determined, or when it is not necessary to indicate how long an activity will take.  

Indeterminate circular progress indicator
Indeterminate circular progress indicator

C. Indeterminate to Determinate

The indicator can switch from an indeterminate state to a determinate state. It should be used when an indeterminate process reaches a point where its duration can be determined and the loading animation can be stopped.

Circular progress indicator (indeterminate to determinate)
Circular progress indicator (indeterminate to determinate)

C. With Label

  • Labels are optional to communicate the status and progress. If there is nothing to communicate, then having no label is valid.
  • Only include labels to give extra context or to provide useful information. For example, what information the progress bar is processing. Avoid using terms such as “loading” that don’t add any value.
  • Use sentence style capitalization.
  • We recommend including a progress value, for example, 60%, 30/100, etc., at the end of the label for determinate indicators to show how much of the process is already completed, the current progress, and how much is remaining.
  • The display of the progress value is under application control. The application should be able to turn the progress value off.
  • Keep labels short – we recommend one line of text.
Circular progress indicator with label
Circular progress indicator with label

Resources