Data Download Notification Timing



Researching the timeout question for data downloads. Given some are instantaneous and others can take minutes, looking for current perspective on

  • How long will a user wait for a data download before abandoning?
  • When should a progress bar kick in?
  • When should you tell the user that it will be in their downloads when finished?


I really like this topic!
We faced this problem several times and we didn’t find a standard pattern to provide a solution to it.
Anyway, I will try to reply to your questions:

I would say, it depends on the task the user is working on. If I am in a process that provides an output such a PDF, I expect this operation it will be very fast and I don’t need any system info about time and size fo the output. If I am in a process that executes background tasks such a report about the last year of activity on my bank account I expect:

  • to have system information about how much time is needed to download
  • to know If I can perform other actions while the download itself is complete
  • to receive a notification about the download action once is done