Tell Me Something I Don’t Know About Progress Bar


Waiting stinks. There’s no other way around it. Sure, there are times when the anticipation of something is fun but nobody would say that while sitting in a 3 hour DMV line.

But what’s worse than waiting? I would easily argue that it’s waiting with no idea when the wait will be over.


For those of us who work on a computer frequently, we’ve come to know a little thing called the progress bar that has helped us with our waiting pain.

Back in the 1980’s, a student  presented a paper about the importance of the progress bar and how it would make users less anxious.  So the progress bar was born where we could see just how much progress has been made and by simple math, how much more was needed to be done until completion.  Little did I know how important that progress bar was.

What’s interesting is that people didn’t care so much that the progress bar was accurate or not. They just found it comforting.

The interesting thing though is that we seem to have taken a step backwards. I rarely see the progress bar. On my Apple computer, I usually get a spinning pinwheel or beach ball. I think on Windows’ machines, they get a spinning hourglass.

Give me back my percentage completed progress bar so my hair doesn’t fall out.



About the author -

Paul Kondo

Paul is a partner with Funderstanding. In his spare time, he spends way too much time talking about Breaking Bad, Sherlock, and reading Flipboard. At least he has broken his Words With Friends addiction.

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