A progress bar is a linear indicator for providing feedback about an ongoing, user-initiated process.
Use a progress bar to set expectation of the loading time. Users are more willing to tolerate a long wait time if they see the actual progress. It gives users control to decide whether to wait or not. It may also reduce the perceived wait time.
Progress Bar Usage
- To want to indicate "This will take awhile, here is an estimate". More than 10 seconds
- When progress can be indicated by percentage
- When space permits
- When you want to indicate "This will be a moment". Between 1-10 seconds
- When progress cannot be indicated by percentage
- When space is limited
When there is a specific goal duration use determinate progress to inform users about the process. Two examples are file upload/download, or a series of configuration steps that happen during an initialization process.
- Show progress towards a specific maximum goal or known duration
- Has an optional label that shows percentage completion
- Keep messaging minimal
- Use specific messaging: Process starting, Process finished, etc
When there is no estimate for the completion time or goal of a process, show indeterminate progress. This indicates that work is occurring but does not indicate a scope or imply an estimate for how long it will take to complete. One example is uploading a file of data that will be analyzed before a response.
- Will animate continuously until complete
- Uses specific messaging: E.g "Loading update 3 of 7"
- Has no estimated end time
- Indicates work is occurring
Progress bars fill from left to right. Clarity places an optional label to the right of the progress bar.