Let me first just start off with this quote:
“Why does Windows come up and show me a loading bar? Be like Linux and just load; don’t waste resources on showing me a loading bar!” — Anonymous
I understand the concern about those resources, however if you turned an appliance on — be it a light switch or a microwave — you would expect something to happen. If you switched your light on and nothing was to happen, you’d think “What has broken? Why didn’t the light turn on?” Then you’d go through the process of elimination to work out what has failed.
This is the main reason most things have some sort of feedback or indication to inform us that they’re working, so you don’t need to worry. You can see this mostly in games.
Let’s take a look at some examples of games. We’ll start this off with the C64 game called Creatures. This is an ingame gif(ignore the balloon and the EEEK!), if the character was to stand still you can see the score and time are constantly changing. This may have just been a design choice, however it is something that continuously changes while the user does nothing.
Now if you take a look at some other classic games from the Sega Mega drive/Genesis and the Nintendo:
Some other games from the Sony PlayStation 2 and PC:
As you can see, there is always something animated on the screen. This is a “small” indicator to inform you as a user it is still working so don’t worry. Of course sound is a big indicator, but sound is not something we can rely on due to muting.
So next time you are creating some sort of application/game/website/etc that someone will use, make sure you have something that is constantly changing, be it the indicator in a text editor, or a small icon in the corner. Having that reassures the user that the application is working, and hey, it looks nice!
Thank you for reading, I hope this has helped you or has taught you something new. Feel free to provide feedback, positive or negative.
Super Mario Bros: https://gfycat.com/organicseriousharborseal
Sonic The Hedgehog: https://makeagif.com/gif/sonic-the-hedgehog-opening-title-screen-intro-sega-genesis-np_cIO
World Of Warcraft: https://gfycat.com/rigidnippybrocketdeer
Monster Hunter World: https://gfycat.com/gifs/search/monster+hunter+world+title