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Khatharr

Progress Bars

27 posts in this topic

some tips:

1. Not being able to calculate the progress properly

2. Being lazy in determining the time cost of calculations and the programmer just puts the progress bar into some high level code and the progress bar is simply/lazily proportional to the iterator

3. The progress bar was okay on the developer's system

4. Shit download speeds or a bird flew through the datastream

5. Your employer is running some spy programs on your workstation

6. the developers be shitfuk

Edited by szecs
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I think it's pretty much #2 most of thr time. For example, i load 10 images into my program, each time an image finishs loading, i update the progress bar. Images 1-9 are tiny 128x128 textures, where image #10 is my huge. 4096x4096 background canvas. It's likely the programmer put little thought into doing any serious analyzing the metrics to make sure the progress bar progresses at an even pace.
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I think the bigger annoyance is "Estimated time remaining...". It's about as reliable as a blind eye witness.

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Like slicer4ever says, it's because the progress bar is calculated by dividing the current item index with the total number of items. If each item consumes the same amount of time, that's fine. But that's usually not the case.

 

You can make it look better by using a preprocess step or another metric (bytes when downloading, for instance), but most don't.

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Like slicer4ever says, it's because the progress bar is calculated by dividing the current item index with the total number of items. If each item consumes the same amount of time, that's fine. But that's usually not the case.
 
You can make it look better by using a preprocess step or another metric (bytes when downloading, for instance), but most don't.

I feel like there was a study somewhere that looked at progress bars and something about it being there and not static was just as useful as it being accurate to most users. I think it's a TCR for Windows Store Apps (edit: Non-static loading screens I mean). Edited by way2lazy2care
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I also really appreciate when I spend x minutes waiting for a progress bar to complete and then it just starts over again.

Yeah, or like those installers where the progress bar resets at least five times a second for an entire minute, like, you may as well not display anything because that's about as informative.
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I also really appreciate when I spend x minutes waiting for a progress bar to complete and then it just starts over again.

Yeah, or like those installers where the progress bar resets at least five times a second for an entire minute, like, you may as well not display anything because that's about as informative.

 

Yeah. Those ones.

 

I just wonder about the design process there.

 

"Let's put a progress bar!"

 

"Why?"

 

"Uh..... Shiny?"

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I think the psychology behind making progress bars is quite simple.

 

Progress bar is the fun, stepping-away coding when you are tired of the important coding. When the progress bar itself would get serious, the fun factor vanishes and you get tired of that too and get back to important coding. And you never get back because it's just a fuckin progress bar and you have a deadline anyway.

Edited by szecs
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I think the psychology behind making progress bars is quite simple.

 

Progress bar is the fun, stepping-away coding when you are tired of the important coding. When the progress bar itself would get serious, the fun factor vanishes and you get tired of that too and get back to important coding. And you never get back because it's just a fuckin progress bar and you have a deadline anyway.

hahahaha :)

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I just wonder about the design process there.

 

"Let's put a progress bar!"

 

"Why?"

 

"Uh..... Shiny?"

 

I think "Uh... Shiny" explains a lot of modern UI elements. I can't think of much practical use for this other than "Ooohhhhh".

 

I4LdK.gif

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I just wonder about the design process there.

 

"Let's put a progress bar!"

 

"Why?"

 

"Uh..... Shiny?"

 

I think "Uh... Shiny" explains a lot of modern UI elements. I can't think of much practical use for this other than "Ooohhhhh".

 

I4LdK.gif

 

Ah, how about to remind the user that their system hasn't completely locked up, and that 'stuff' is still happening and they should be waiting, and NOT hammering on the device and looking for the reset button?

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Sure. But a lot of the time when stuff freezes, or the window becomes unresponsive, those UI elements keep ticking away.

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That circling thing is very popular now, you can see it in all sort of apps and OSes. Wonder why it stuck up so much.

 

Though it makes feel like things are progressing doesn't it?

Edited by TheChubu
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I4LdK.gif

I've been watching this for 20 minutes... when is it going to do something? tongue.png

 

Just keep waiting, it will stop eventually and helpfully inform you that an error occurred.

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Sure. But a lot of the time when stuff freezes, or the window becomes unresponsive, those UI elements keep ticking away.

Indeed, more often than not when I see that thing it means the process has locked up x_x; It's there just for placebo effect.

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There is an art to making good progress bars.  It takes a lot more time and effort than anyone is ever willing to put into it, and as a result they are often overlooked.

 

There is something inherently pleasing about watching a good, well-designed progress bar load to completion.  I've thought about this quite a bit before, and for some time, I've become rather obsessed with them.  I would download and install a bunch of things I didn't need just to watch progress bars.  I share my conclusions below.

 

The motion of an ideal progress bar should resemble the plot of a novel.  It's not terribly interesting to watch a progress bar zip right through to the end without encountering a hint of difficulty along the way.  Would you enjoy reading a novel that didn't have a plot or an antagonist?  That would make for a boring novel!

 

The progress bar should start off confidently, ramp up some speed, but slow down around 15-30%.  It doesn't mean stop - you don't ever want a progress bar to stop entirely - but it should start to visibly struggle. It should not stutter or jump around violently or go backwards or anything like that, but its progress should become unsteady.   It should come in waves.  These waves should build up overtime.  It you got some things you need to load that you're uncertain about time-wise, the 30-80% range is the ideal time to load those things.

 

The climax portion is the most important part.  This is where shit gets real.  You should slow that sucker to a crawl (but don't you dare stop it entirely or I will find you).  If you're printing out any sort of details about what's loading, this is the part where you start spitting them out rapid-fire.  Make it up if you have to - write you're "Reticulating splines" for all I care - if you do it right, I won't have time to read it anyway.  If you're thinking about writing to the hard drive, this is the time to do it - make some noise with it.  If you don't have anything you need to write, implement a hard drive stress test algorithm and run it during the 80-95% range.

 

Don't you dare let me down in the last 5%.  There is nothing more disappointing than a progress bar that just disappears when it reaches 99%.  If you do this, I will go to your house and tear out the last page of every book you own.  If you get nothing else from my rambling, at least remember this, because it should be relatively easy to implement, but it needs to be done deliberately: Pause - for just a brief moment, pause when you reach 100%.  Will you promise me that you will do this the next time you implement a progress bar?  Just put a Thread.Sleep(500) in there once you get to a 100%, that's all it takes - but it makes all the difference in the world.  Don't make it too much shorter than 500 ms, or it will look like it just disappeared, but not too much longer, because you never want a progress bar to hang.  A half-second delay to give some closure to the ordeal, that's all.  Please do it.

 

So there you have it.  I hope we can all walk away from this being slightly more attentive to these finer details of the user experience and give progress bars the attention they deserve.  Thanks for reading.

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The crazy thing about progress bars is that their very presence slows down the process that they are informing you about. I use one in my new game for the process of loading file & folder names inside a given folder. But the process is much faster if I don't display the progress bar.

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The crazy thing about progress bars is that their very presence slows down the process that they are informing you about. I use one in my new game for the process of loading file & folder names inside a given folder. But the process is much faster if I don't display the progress bar.

 

You're probably doing it wrong then. You shouldn't be updating the progress bar hundreds of times a second - only update and display it once there has been sufficient progress for it to display something new, and if the task is sufficiently long that it deserves a progress bar to begin with. Also, you probably don't need pixel accuracy on a progress bar - even the old Windows 95 progress bars were good at what they did and had sufficiently large discrete steps that it was only necessary to redraw them a handful of times:

 

fake-progress-bar-6.jpg

 

Inside the code logic, you should only be updating a variable called "progress" or something like that, then redraw the progress bar component if drawing it would cause the currently displayed progress to change :)

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