One thing undeniable about human behavior is the constant need for validation. Having support for our actions is like a green signal to go ahead with what we’re doing. That’s exactly what progress bars do for us – giving us an indication of where we stand in what we’re doing. Before taking this thought any further, let’s understand what exactly a progress bar means and how it helps the users.
Progress bars, the name itself indicates the meaning of the word. It is a progress report of our work in the form of small bars. The largest benefit of these reports is that it benefits the user a great deal. It gives them the satisfaction of completion of some tasks. It’s no secret that we, as humans, don’t like to leave things incomplete. And, a progress bar, is a motivation for us to put an end to a set of tasks.
It is a common trait among users that as they begin work, they become anxious about completing it. Too much work might as well give them stress and increase the need to complete the work fast. However, the presence of a progress bar can certainly be the cure for it. If the users will already know the progress, they wouldn’t be impatient about its completion. Instead, it will become easy for them to determine the pace at which they wish to complete their work.
Let’s have a look at what other things a progress bar can do for users to help them maintain their sanity:
Progress bars can be used as a secret way to make the audience stay on your portal. It is one easy way to make user experience better. Tasks like filling long forms or any other information that is time consuming can become a bit boring for people. However, if they are able to see their progress in what they are doing, it will keep them moving ahead. It is psychological that if people do not get to know their progress, they will not feel motivated to continue working. Progress bars gives them that satisfaction that they are about to reach the end or it looks like a path of completion to them. Seeing a progress bar will undoubtedly dull the pain of waiting, which is the best thing about using progress bars.
Noticing progress is important for users
When we talk about making user experience better, giving users an easy-to-interact environment, allowing them to progress fast, and complete achievements – we spike positive feelings and satisfaction. Thus, it’s always a good idea to speed up the progress bar in the beginning to keep the user under the impression that the work is going to be completed soon which will put them in a relaxed mood. Also, it gives them the security of work being done appropriately and by the time the work is being done, you can focus on something more important. For example, while the new episode of your favourite series is being downloaded, you can surf around to see which other series you can watch.
Update and encourage
Staying informed is one big factor for the user. Not everyone is capable of sitting and staring at the computer screen while the task is being done. A percentage bar is like a positive feedback for the user that will give them the assurance of the work done, keep them updated about the completion and further encourage them to keep up the work. It’s advisable to keep your progress indicator prominent, and show it relatively high after the first task gets completed. However, it should not be overdone.
While you try to make the user experience better, don’t forget that our users are smart enough to understand that there are more steps than they can actually see. And there’s nothing worse than a negative user experience. Let’s take an example of what may lead to a disappointing user experience. Let’s say a user has to make a profile on a job seeking platform and for that he has to follow certain steps. The progress bar should not be made in such way that the start is fast enough to convince the user that the process is quick to end, but as the end comes near, the process becomes slow. This may not yield better results with reference to user experience. This will make the user question the trustworthiness of the system and consequently become lethargic or indifferent towards the task. So before you add a progress bar in your system, make sure you build a good user experience and not disappoint them.