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How to Make a Customized Bootstrap Spinner Effectively

Bootstrap spinners, also known as loaders, are visual indicators that an application is loading. As users navigate through web pages or interact with various features, there are instances where data retrieval or processing occurs in the background. In these moments, the absence of visual cues can leave users perplexed or, worse, frustrated. The Bootstrap spinner addresses this challenge by providing a clear and intuitive signal that an action is in progress. By managing user expectations and reducing uncertainty, spinners contribute significantly to a website’s usability and overall satisfaction.

Bootstrap spinners are easy to implement in your projects and their appearance, alignment, and sizing are easily customizable with Bootstrap’s utility classes. In this article, we will delve deeper into the world of Bootstrap spinners, exploring their types, customization options, and how to use them effectively in different contexts.

About Bootstrap Spinner

Bootstrap spinners are visual indicators that an application is loading. They are built entirely with HTML and CSS, meaning you don’t need any JavaScript to create them. However, you will need some custom JavaScript to toggle their visibility.

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HTML, CSS, and JavaScript in Creating Bootstrap Spinners

  • HTML Structure: To integrate a Bootstrap Spinner into your project, start with a straightforward HTML structure. The spinner is typically embedded within a designated container, signaling the area where the loading action is occurring.

    <div class="spinner-container"> <!-- Bootstrap Spinner Goes Here --> </div>
  • CSS Styling: Bootstrap Spinners come with default styles that you can leverage instantly. The CSS provides the animation, shaping the appearance of the spinner. It’s crucial to understand these styles to either embrace the defaults or customize the spinner to align with your project’s aesthetics.

  • JavaScript Interaction: While Bootstrap Spinners do not inherently require JavaScript for basic functionality, advanced customization and interaction may involve JavaScript. Understanding these interactions opens the door to dynamic behavior, such as toggling spinners based on user actions or manipulating their appearance dynamically.

Utility Classes for Customizing Spinners:

Bootstrap provides a set of utility classes that empower developers to tailor spinners to their specific needs. These utility classes seamlessly integrate with the default styles, allowing for easy customization without delving deep into CSS intricacies. Some key utility classes include:

  • Changing Spinner Size:

    • spinner-border-sm: Small spinner

    • spinner-border: Default size

    • spinner-border-lg: Large spinner

  • Customizing Spinner Color:

    • text-primary, text-danger, etc.: Assigns a color to the spinner text

    • border-primary, border-danger, etc.: Defines the spinner border color

  • Responsive Spinners:

    • d-flex, justify-content-center, align-items-center: Centering the spinner within its container, ensuring responsiveness across various screen sizes.

Understanding these utility classes facilitates effortless customization, enabling developers to adapt Bootstrap Spinners to diverse design requirements.

In the subsequent sections, we will delve deeper into the implementation, customization, and best practices for Bootstrap Spinners, empowering you to master these dynamic elements in your web development projects.

Types of Bootstrap Spinners

Bootstrap offers a versatile array of spinners, each catering to specific design needs and user experiences. In this section, we’ll explore the two primary types of Bootstrap Spinners: Border Spinner and Grow Spinner.

Border Spinner:

The Border Spinner is a classic, sleek design that emphasizes simplicity and clarity. It consists of a circular border that animates, creating a clean and unobtrusive visual cue for users. This type of spinner is particularly effective when you want to convey activity without overwhelming the user interface.

Code Example – Border Spinner:

<div class="spinner-border" role="status">
  <span class="visually-hidden">Loading...</span>
</div>

In this example, the spinner-border class initiates the default Border Spinner. The visually-hidden class ensures that screen readers announce the loading status without displaying it visually, providing an accessible user experience.

Grow Spinner:

The Grow Spinner, on the other hand, offers a more dynamic and visually engaging approach. As the name suggests, this spinner appears to grow and shrink, adding a touch of liveliness to the loading process. The Grow Spinner is an excellent choice when you want to infuse energy into your interface without sacrificing professionalism.

Code Example – Grow Spinner:

</div>
<div class="spinner-grow text-secondary" role="status">
  <span class="sr-only">Loading...</span>
</div>
<div class="spinner-grow text-success" role="status">
  <span class="sr-only">Loading...</span>
</div>
<div class="spinner-grow text-danger" role="status">
  <span class="sr-only">Loading...</span>
</div>
<div class="spinner-grow text-warning" role="status">
  <span class="sr-only">Loading...</span>
</div>
<div class="spinner-grow text-info" role="status">
  <span class="sr-only">Loading...</span>
</div>
<div class="spinner-grow text-light" role="status">
  <span class="sr-only">Loading...</span>
</div>
<div class="spinner-grow text-dark" role="status">
  <span class="sr-only">Loading...</span>
</div>

Here, the spinner-grow class triggers the default Grow Spinner. Similar to the Border Spinner example, the visually-hidden class ensures a seamless experience for users relying on assistive technologies.

Here is a complete code showing both type of spinners in action

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
<head>
  <title>Bootstrap Spinners</title>
  <meta charset="utf-8">
  <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1">
  <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="css/bootstrap.min.css">
  <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="css/style.css">
  <style>
   body {
      display: flex;
      align-items: center;
      justify-content: center;
      height: 100vh;
      margin: 0;
    }
  </style>
</head>
<body>
   <div class="spinner-border" role="status">
      <span class="visually-hidden">Loading...</span>
   </div>
   <div class="spinner-grow" role="status">
      <span class="visually-hidden">Loading...</span>
   </div>
</body>
</html>

Both types of spinners can be easily customized to suit your project’s design requirements. You can adjust the size, color, and animation speed using Bootstrap utility classes, as discussed in the previous section. Experimenting with these customizations allows you to seamlessly integrate spinners into your overall design scheme.

Understanding the distinctions between Border and Grow Spinners equips you with the knowledge to choose the most fitting spinner for your specific use case. In the subsequent sections, we will delve deeper into customization options, providing you with the tools to master the art of Bootstrap Spinners in your web development projects.

Customizing Bootstrap Spinners

While Bootstrap Spinners come with default styles that work seamlessly out of the box, the true power lies in the ability to customize them to align with your project’s design language. In this section, we’ll explore how you can tailor Bootstrap Spinners to suit your aesthetic preferences.

Customizing Spinner Color using Text Color Utilities:

Bootstrap provides a convenient set of text color utilities that modifies the color of spinners effortlessly. This feature enables you to integrate spinners seamlessly into your overall color scheme. Here are some examples:

<div class="spinner-border text-primary" role="status">
 <span class="visually-hidden">Loading...</span>
</div>
<div class="spinner-border text-secondary" role="status">
 <span class="visually-hidden">Loading...</span>
</div>
<div class="spinner-border text-success" role="status">
 <span class="visually-hidden">Loading...</span>
</div>
<div class="spinner-border text-danger" role="status">
 <span class="visually-hidden">Loading...</span>
</div>
<div class="spinner-border text-warning" role="status">
 <span class="visually-hidden">Loading...</span>
</div>
<div class="spinner-border text-info" role="status">
 <span class="visually-hidden">Loading...</span>
</div>
<div class="spinner-border text-light" role="status">
 <span class="visually-hidden">Loading...</span>
</div>
<div class="spinner-border text-dark" role="status">
 <span class="visually-hidden">Loading...</span>
</div>

Customizing Spinner Size:

Bootstrap makes it straightforward to adjust the size of spinners according to your design requirements. By applying size-specific utility classes, you can ensure that spinners harmonize with the overall layout of your web page.

You can change the size of the spinner by adding .spinner-border-sm and .spinner-grow-sm classes to make a smaller spinner that can quickly be used within other components. Here are some examples:

<div class="spinner-border spinner-border-sm" role="status">
 <span class="visually-hidden">Loading...</span>
</div>
<div class="spinner-grow spinner-grow-sm" role="status">
 <span class="visually-hidden">Loading...</span>
</div>

Or, you can use custom CSS or inline styles to change the dimensions as needed:

<div class="spinner-border" style="width: 3rem; height: 3rem;" role="status">
 <span class="visually-hidden">Loading...</span>
</div>
<div class="spinner-grow" style="width: 3rem; height: 3rem;" role="status">
 <span class="visually-hidden">Loading...</span>
</div>

Customizing Spinner Alignment:

Spinners in Bootstrap use rems, currentColor, and display: inline-flex. So this means they are easily resizable, recolorable, and quickly alignable. You can also use flexbox utilities, float utilities, or text alignment utilities to place spinners exactly where you need them in any situation.

<div class="d-flex justify-content-center align-items-center">
  <div class="spinner-border" role="status">
    <span class="visually-hidden">Loading...</span>
  </div>
</div>

In this example, the combination of d-flex, justify-content-center, and align-items-center classes ensures that the spinner is horizontally and vertically centered within its container.

Customizing Spinner Placement:

You can use spinners within buttons to indicate an action is currently processing or taking place. You may also swap the text out of the spinner element and utilize button text as needed. Here are some examples:

<button class="btn btn-primary" type="button" disabled>
 <span class="spinner-border spinner-border-sm" role="status" aria-hidden="true"></span>
 <span class="visually-hidden">Loading...</span>
</button>
<button class="btn btn-primary" type="button" disabled>
 <span class="spinner-border spinner-border-sm" role="status" aria-hidden="true"></span>
 Loading...
</button>
<button class="btn btn-primary" type="button" disabled>
 <span class="spinner-grow spinner-grow-sm" role="status" aria-hidden="true"></span>
 <span class="visually-hidden">Loading...</span>
</button>
<button class="btn btn-primary" type="button" disabled>
 <span class="spinner-grow spinner-grow-sm" role="status" aria-hidden="true"></span>
 Loading...
</button>

Using Bootstrap Spinners

Bootstrap spinners are versatile and used in a variety of contexts to indicate that a component or page is loading. They can be used in buttons, links, or within flex containers.

Using Spinners in Buttons

You can also add spinners to a button, with or without text. So, here’s an example of how to add a border spinner to a button:

<button class="btn btn-primary" type="button" disabled>
 <span class="spinner-border spinner-border-sm" role="status" aria-hidden="true"></span>
 <span class="visually-hidden">Loading...</span>
</button>

And here’s an example of how to add a grow spinner to a button:

<button class="btn btn-primary" type="button" disabled>
 <span class="spinner-grow spinner-grow-sm" role="status" aria-hidden="true"></span>
 <span class="visually-hidden">Loading...</span>
</button>

You can also swap the text out of the spinner element and utilize button text as needed:

<button class="btn btn-primary" type="button" disabled>
 <span class="spinner-border spinner-border-sm" role="status" aria-hidden="true"></span>
 Loading...
</button>
<button class="btn btn-primary" type="button" disabled>
 <span class="spinner-grow spinner-grow-sm" role="status" aria-hidden="true"></span>
 Loading...
</button>

Using Spinners in Links

Spinners can also be used within links. Here’s an example of how to add a border spinner to a link:

<a href="#" class="btn btn-primary disabled" role="button">
 <span class="spinner-border spinner-border-sm" role="status" aria-hidden="true"></span>
 <span class="visually-hidden">Loading...</span>
</a>

And here’s an example of how to add a grow spinner to a link:

<a href="#" class="btn btn-primary disabled" role="button">
 <span class="spinner-grow spinner-grow-sm" role="status" aria-hidden="true"></span>
 <span class="visually-hidden">Loading...</span>
</a>

Using Spinners in Flex Containers

You can also use flexbox utilities, float utilities, or text alignment utilities to place spinners exactly where you need them in any situation. Here’s an example of how to center a spinner within a flex container:

<div class="d-flex justify-content-center">
 <div class="spinner-border" role="status">
  <span class="visually-hidden">Loading...</span>
 </div>
</div>

Here’s an example of how to align a spinner to the right within a flex container:

<div class="d-flex align-items-center">
 <strong>Loading...</strong>
 <div class="spinner-border ms-auto" role="status" aria-hidden="true"></div>
</div>

Accessibility

Accessibility is a key aspect of web development. It ensures that your website or application is usable by as many people as possible, including those with disabilities. Bootstrap spinners are designed with accessibility in mind.

For accessibility purposes, each Bootstrap spinner includes role=”status” and a nested <span class=”visually-hidden”>Loading…</span>. The role=”status” attribute indicates that the spinner is used to convey the status of a process. The nested <span> with the class visually-hidden provides a text description of the status, which is read by screen readers. This makes the spinner accessible to users who rely on screen readers to navigate the web

Here’s an example of a spinner with accessibility features:

<div class="spinner-border" role="status">
 <span class="visually-hidden">Loading...</span>
</div>

In addition, the animation effect of Bootstrap spinners is dependent on the prefers-reduced-motion media query. This means that users who have indicated a preference for reduced motion will see a static representation of the spinner instead of the animated version. This is a good practice for accessibility, as it reduces motion for users who find it distracting or disorienting.

Troubleshooting and Best Practices

When using Bootstrap spinners, there are a few common issues you might encounter and some best practices to follow to ensure they work correctly and effectively.

Troubleshooting

  1. Spinner not showing up: Make sure you’ve included the correct Bootstrap CSS and JavaScript files in your project. The spinner relies on Bootstrap’s CSS for styling and JavaScript for functionality. If these files are not included, the spinner will not display correctly.
  2. Spinner not animating: The animation of the spinner is controlled by CSS keyframes. If the animation is not working, check your CSS to make sure the keyframes for the spinner are defined correctly.
  3. Spinner not aligning correctly: Bootstrap spinners are built with display: inline-flex, which means they can be easily aligned using flexbox utilities, float utilities, or text alignment utilities. If the spinner is not aligning correctly, check your CSS to make sure you’re using the correct alignment utilities.

Best Practices

  1. Use spinners to indicate loading: Spinners should be used to indicate that a component or page is loading. They provide visual feedback to the user that the application is processing their request.
  2. Customize spinners for accessibility: Each spinner should include role=”status” and a nested <span class=”visually-hidden”>Loading…</span>. This provides screen readers with information about the loading state of the application, making the spinner accessible to users who rely on screen readers.
  3. Respect user preferences: The animation effect of Bootstrap spinners is dependent on the prefers-reduced-motion media query. This means that users who have indicated a preference for reduced motion will see a static representation of the spinner instead of the animated version. This is a good practice for accessibility, as it reduces motion for users who find it distracting or disorienting.
  4. Use spinners in appropriate contexts: Spinners can be used in a variety of contexts, such as buttons, links, or within flex containers. Make sure to use them in a context that makes sense for your application.

Best Practices Table

Best PracticesDescription
Use spinners to indicate loadingSpinners should be used to indicate that a component or page is loading. They provide visual feedback to the user that the application is processing their request
Customize spinners for accessibilityEach spinner should include role="status" and a nested <span class="visually-hidden">Loading...</span>. This provides screen readers with information about the loading state of the application, making the spinner accessible to users who rely on screen readers
Respect user preferencesThe animation effect of Bootstrap spinners is dependent on the prefers-reduced-motion media query. This means that users who have indicated a preference for reduced motion will see a static representation of the spinner instead of the animated version. This is a good practice for accessibility, as it reduces motion for users who find it distracting or disorienting
Use spinners in appropriate contextsSpinners can be used in a variety of contexts, such as buttons, links, or within flex containers. Make sure to use them in a context that makes sense for your application
Easy alignment and sizingSpinners in Bootstrap are built with rems, currentColor, and display: inline-flex. This means they can easily be resized, recolored, and quickly aligned. You can use flexbox utilities, float utilities, or text alignment utilities to place spinners exactly where you need them in any situation
Use margin utilities for spacingUse margin utilities like .m-5 for easy spacing around your spinners

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Wrapping Up

Bootstrap spinners are a versatile and highly customizable feature that can be used to indicate loading states in your applications. They are built entirely with HTML and CSS, meaning you don’t need any JavaScript to create them. However, you will need some custom JavaScript to toggle their visibility.

Their appearance, alignment, and sizing can be easily customized with Bootstrap’s utility classes. You can use them in a variety of contexts, such as buttons, links, or within flex containers. They can be used to show the loading state in your projects, providing visual feedback to the user that the application is processing their request

In conclusion, Bootstrap spinners are a powerful tool for indicating loading states in your applications. They are easy to use, highly customizable, and accessible to all users. By understanding how to use them effectively, you can enhance the user experience of your applications.

To learn more about Bootstrap Spinner, you can check these helpful resources:

Victor Yakubu

Victor Yakubu