A splash screen is a screen image that shows up on a computer or similar system when something is loading; it usually contains a logo, entertaining image or a mixture of the two. This is most commonly seen with programs and games, especially during long load times. Websites that have movie or memory-heavy intros also may use a splash screen, but this is uncommon, because most people want a fast website that does not need this screen. The image can take up part or all of the screen, and both sizes are common and typically used during different types of loading. While this screen is not technically needed, it lets the user know something is happening with the computer.
The most common place to find a splash screen is with a program or game. When the user starts a program, the screen will appear on the monitor as the software loads and prepares for use. A game will typically use this when the player moves to a new map or area and lengthy processing is required. Splash screens in these areas can either be still images or can include audio and animation.
Websites sometimes use a splash screen, but this is not common. The screen is typically attached to the homepage of the website, and it normally shows an image and a loading bar. Animations can be used, but they take even more time and memory and, thus, are not common. A website typically does not have this, because people typically want to access a website quickly and most website owners try to accommodate this by avoiding lengthy intros.
Sizing of a splash screen can be anywhere from a small portion of the screen to its full size. Smaller splash screens are typically used for shorter load times, while larger ones are commonly for long load times or when nothing else can be done with the computer or system, such as when the computer or system is first being turned on. Regardless of the size, both typically have the same type of aesthetics.
While a splash screen is not technically needed for processing, it serves an important purpose. If someone turns on a computer or program and no splash screen appears, then the user may not know if it is loading. He or she may respond by repeatedly turning the hardware or software on and off in an attempt to make it load, and the user may get frustrated.