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Rethinking the Progress Bar

journal contribution
posted on 01.10.2007 by Chris Harrison, Brian Amento, Stacey Kuznetsov, Robert Bell
Progress bars are prevalent in modern user interfaces. Typically, a linear function is employed such that the progress of the bar is directly proportional to how much work has been completed. However, numerous factors cause progress bars to proceed at non-linear rates. Additionally, humans perceive time in a non-linear way. This paper explores the impact of various progress bar behaviors on user perception of process duration. The results are used to suggest several design considerations that can make progress bars appear faster and ultimately improve users' computing experience