According to a recent New York Times article the loading bar was created in the 80’s by Brad A. Myers who was a grad student at the time. He referred to loading bars as ‘percent-done progress indicators’ in a paper he did, and stated it made users less anxious and more efficient.

Now I agree with this to a point. Loading bars are important for informing the user on the progress of a process and how much farther they have to wait. Without them we would be totally lost when waiting for transactions to process, or when installing applications. On the other side they aren’t always accurate. I do remember installing applications on Windows, waiting patiently for it to complete – and then have it stall when it reached 100% or even go backwards. Very frustrating indeed!

Loading bars now also show an estimate for the time it will take to completely finish – a fantastic addition – but it can still have the accuracy issue as well.

What I’m really trying to say here is informing the user of their progress is quite necessary, as long as it’s accurate – otherwise it leads to frustration and mistrust of the product.

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