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Progress Bars

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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.

 

I test software at work, and one project (an iOS app) had all load indicators fail one build. Trust me, that was hellish to use as it constantly felt like the app had locked up and crashed. (Something that it frequently done in pervious builds due to being so early in development.)

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To share some recent experience!

 

We did some user testing when implementing an installation bootstrapper (installing tons of big packages) last autumn, and when there was both a normal progress bar and a spinning wheel at the side the users felt that the installation was faster than with just a normal progress bar. And a lot faster than only a spinning wheel. The worst user experience though came from the indeterminete progress bar though, which is interesting because it's as useless as the spinning wheel. But maybe not as pretty!

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I use a progress bar but only update it between stages. I don't see the need to update it for every file loaded, only when a particular step in the initialization stage is complete. In a way it is a 'lazy' update but it does let the user know something is actually progressing. I don't bother with showing what is going on internally but it does show about 30 steps worth. Since I've implemented that perceptually it seems as if the loading time is much shorter even though I know it is a few ms longer than before due to the draw code.

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