With the fashion for full Flash websites slowly fading into history (or is it just that websites load faster now?), I was excited to discover Pretty Loaded. Launched in January 2009, the site is an archive, or museum, of one of the artifacts of those big Flash sites… the preloader, or “loading” screen.
Once upon a time, in a land of sputtering dial-up connections, websites took ages to load. Folks yearned for the 100% mark. But as soon as that figure arrived, the beloved (or bemoaned) preloader disappeared, never to be seen or heard from again.
It’s by no means exhaustive — it’s got no content from before 2002 — but it’s still a great collection. And seeing all these preloaders together gives a nice perspective on this disappearing mini-art-form. Designers needed to be pretty clever with their coding to make them small enough to load almost instantly. And the best of them used interactivity and design to effectively build excitement and anticipation about the loading site.
For even more preloaders, check out Smashing Magazine‘s Showcase of Creative Flash Preloaders.