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Last post Author Topic: Anyone else here have an unhealthy fascination with progress bars?  (Read 6697 times)

superboyac

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Maybe it's just me, but I love watching a good progress bar.  What makes it good?  i don't know.  Each progress bar has its own special personality.  You have the classic XP progress bar.  You have the different flavors that come with the installation packages.  You have the jelly-like, blue-striped Mac progress bar.  My favorite kind of progress bar is the kind that has lots of stuff going on: multiple bars, lines within lines (think Winrar).  I also like smaller increments.  I hate it when progress bars skip through the thing in big 25% chunks.  I want to see every percent, it gives me pleasure for some reason.

mouser

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Re: Anyone else here have an unhealthy fascination with progress bars?
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2011, 10:55:22 AM »
One of the saddest things that has happened in modern times is that almost everything you ask your computer to do is done instantly.

Now most people will tell you that's a great thing, but I'm here to tell you that I remember the days when I would start a program compiling and go off to have dinner while it worked.  Those were the days.

There is nothing quite like knowing your computer friend is hard as work on something while you go take a nap or grab a bite to eat.

That's always been one of the appeals of doing scientific work on the computer -- I once ran a program on my pc that took 2 months to run and it was an unadulterated pleasure.

Progress bars are just the icing on the cake :)

steeladept

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Re: Anyone else here have an unhealthy fascination with progress bars?
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2011, 10:58:05 AM »
Okay, you caught me  ;)

I do too.  My favorites are the stylized ones you see in some games.  I always get a kick in finding out what they look like full.  I also always thought a cool bar would be one that had short statements (proverbs, maybe) that would only show as the progress continued.  It would also change statements so it doesn't get stale like most do after a few uses.

superboyac

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Re: Anyone else here have an unhealthy fascination with progress bars?
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2011, 11:52:42 AM »
One of the saddest things that has happened in modern times is that almost everything you ask your computer to do is done instantly.

Now most people will tell you that's a great thing, but I'm here to tell you that I remember the days when I would start a program compiling and go off to have dinner while it worked.  Those were the days.

There is nothing quite like knowing your computer friend is hard as work on something while you go take a nap or grab a bite to eat.

That's always been one of the appeals of doing scientific work on the computer -- I once ran a program on my pc that took 2 months to run and it was an unadulterated pleasure.

Progress bars are just the icing on the cake :)
That's true!  I totally miss my lab research days.  That free schedule was kind of unique and cool.  Now, I have to just work set hours.  It was fun going to lab in the morning, letting something run, go do something else for a few hours, come back at night.  It was a fun lifestyle.  Now, everything is so ordinary and rote.

f0dder

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Re: Anyone else here have an unhealthy fascination with progress bars?
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2011, 12:00:08 PM »
I prefer progress bars that convey the intended information without a lot of fuzz - so I'm not a fan of too much animation or going nuts with gradients and the like. That's how I generally like UI elements: simple and stylish.

I did like WinRAR's compression progress bar that indicated compression ratio, but that seems to have gone with recent(ish) versions? It wasn't über-fancy, and it conveyed useful information.

Oh, and I've been guilty of inserting delay timers in two installers I've made, because installation was too damn fast... even on the old machines those several years back when I did the software :-[ :-[ :-[
- carpe noctem

superboyac

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Re: Anyone else here have an unhealthy fascination with progress bars?
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2011, 12:22:02 PM »
Oh, and I've been guilty of inserting delay timers in two installers I've made, because installation was too damn fast... even on the old machines those several years back when I did the software :-[ :-[ :-[
That's actually nice!  It makes me a little uncomfortable when it goes by instantly, i always think something went wrong.  (that's what she said)


sorry

f0dder

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Re: Anyone else here have an unhealthy fascination with progress bars?
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2011, 12:29:24 PM »
That's actually nice!  It makes me a little uncomfortable when it goes by instantly, i always think something went wrong.  (that's what she said)
;)

I wouldn't do that today, though. I've had to install some oldish software not too long ago, and noticed that the installation process should have completed in a couple of seconds... but because the developers decided to show X screenshots/whatever during installation, crossfaded between those sceenshots, and delayed the installation process while doing the crossfade, the install took around a minute. Darn annoying.
- carpe noctem

Deozaan

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Re: Anyone else here have an unhealthy fascination with progress bars?
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2011, 12:48:47 PM »
Then this is the game for you!

Progress Quest.

And let's not forget about mouser's excellent flash game, The Horizon of Infinite Space!

Infinite Space.png


steeladept

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Re: Anyone else here have an unhealthy fascination with progress bars?
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2011, 02:17:07 PM »
Ah, don't get me wrong, I am not for the forced delays, but when an install is going to take some time, I do like something to keep me interested while I wait, that is all.

Deozaan

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Re: Anyone else here have an unhealthy fascination with progress bars?
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2011, 02:25:49 PM »
I like progress bars too, but that's not because of the bars, but what they represent: Progress!

I love downloading and updating things and seeing these bars fill up because it (usually) means something new to try out and see once it's complete.

I don't care about the bars themselves and in fact they can be frustrating. For example, file transfers in Windows since Vista seem to take WAY too long. And I hate those bars that are just an animated thing that doesn't really go to 100%, or starts over when it gets to 100%. They just indicate that your system hasn't frozen up entirely, but give you no idea how much progress has actually been made on the task or that anything is actually really happening at all.


nudone

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Re: Anyone else here have an unhealthy fascination with progress bars?
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2011, 02:28:57 PM »
hmm, i do tend to like progress bars too. very minimal ones. it'd be nice to have a physical one for the real world (i bet you can buy one from somewhere).

thought it was just me. but it makes sense we'd all love 'em - doesn't it.


f0dder

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Re: Anyone else here have an unhealthy fascination with progress bars?
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2011, 02:35:55 PM »
And I hate those bars that are just an animated thing that doesn't really go to 100%, or starts over when it gets to 100%. They just indicate that your system hasn't frozen up entirely, but give you no idea how much progress has actually been made on the task or that anything is actually really happening at all.
Amen!

Those kind of "progress bars" should be banished, and replaced with some other form of animation indicating that the program is still responsive. The exception to this is if the program needs to do a very short (a few seconds max) of precalculation in order to determine the final result... which also means that a file copy dialog should start with one animation while calculating transfer time, and then switch to a progress bar.
- carpe noctem

Renegade

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Re: Anyone else here have an unhealthy fascination with progress bars?
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2011, 02:36:44 PM »
Oh, and I've been guilty of inserting delay timers in two installers I've made, because installation was too damn fast... even on the old machines those several years back when I did the software :-[ :-[ :-[

I remember installing the first Silverlight betas multiple times because they installed too fast.

Waaayyyy back, computers used lights to let people know that they were working. It's just comforting to know that something is going on and that you are getting closer to your goal.
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

f0dder

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Re: Anyone else here have an unhealthy fascination with progress bars?
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2011, 02:48:28 PM »
Waaayyyy back, computers used lights to let people know that they were working. It's just comforting to know that something is going on and that you are getting closer to your goal.
Mmmmh, blinkenlights! - it definitely has it's charm.

blinkenlights.jpg

The term is explained over at wikipedia :)
- carpe noctem

Eóin

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Re: Anyone else here have an unhealthy fascination with progress bars?
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2011, 05:50:31 PM »
Well here's a guy who really loves progress bars.

I also enjoyed this related article: Progress bar, the lie we all accept

Remember the good old days, when a progress bar in the user interface actually provided an indication of, well, progress? Alas, today the progress bar devolved into little more than a dancing monkey, doing the electric slide back and forth in its tiny box in an attempt to simultaneously communicate to me that something is happening while also trying to distract me from from the fact that I'll be waiting some indeterminate period of time for that thing to finish.

Also, re the blinking lights. This excerpt from Airplane 2 was always one of my favorites

Soldier: Those lights are blinking out of sequence.
Buck Murdock: I see.
Soldier: What should we do?
Buck Murdock: Make them blink in sequence.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2011, 05:54:08 PM by Eóin »

superboyac

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Re: Anyone else here have an unhealthy fascination with progress bars?
« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2011, 06:07:34 PM »
Well here's a guy who really loves progress bars.
Ok, that deserves a level 2 LOL:


I was seriously looking at that and thinking, "Man, they are all just so...beautiful!"

superboyac

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Re: Anyone else here have an unhealthy fascination with progress bars?
« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2011, 06:09:53 PM »
OK, I'm totally serial...
those are the greatest looking progress bars I have ever seen.  Someone please, PLEASE put one of these in your applications.

Eóin

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Re: Anyone else here have an unhealthy fascination with progress bars?
« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2011, 06:11:42 PM »
I've also just remembered one of my favorite DailyWTF's - Meaningless Progression. You don't need to be able to understand the code to get the joke.

Renegade

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Re: Anyone else here have an unhealthy fascination with progress bars?
« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2011, 07:14:10 PM »
Quote
Well here's a guy who really loves progress bars.

Nice!

OK, I'm totally serial...
those are the greatest looking progress bars I have ever seen.  Someone please, PLEASE put one of these in your applications.

That's the kind of thing that I was looking for when I asked about skinning kits. They are very nice.
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cranioscopical

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Re: Anyone else here have an unhealthy fascination with progress bars?
« Reply #19 on: January 11, 2011, 08:41:07 PM »
There is nothing quite like knowing your computer friend is hard as work on something while you go take a nap or grab a bite to eat.

Try to get out more  ;)

Josh

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Re: Anyone else here have an unhealthy fascination with progress bars?
« Reply #20 on: January 11, 2011, 08:49:14 PM »
I remember writing my first "progress bar" in qbasic. It was nothing more than a scrolling bar that used a counter from 0 to 100 and filled up using the old line(x,y)-(x,y) command. Oh, those were the days!

app103

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Re: Anyone else here have an unhealthy fascination with progress bars?
« Reply #21 on: January 11, 2011, 10:30:13 PM »
One of my unfinished projects is a docking progress bar for your life, so you can keep a progress bar to stare at on your desktop at all times. It's supposed to give you some idea how much longer you are going to live.

One of these days I will finish it, as soon as I can figure how how to make it look awesome.

Renegade

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Re: Anyone else here have an unhealthy fascination with progress bars?
« Reply #22 on: January 12, 2011, 12:26:42 AM »
One of my unfinished projects is a docking progress bar for your life, so you can keep a progress bar to stare at on your desktop at all times. It's supposed to give you some idea how much longer you are going to live.

One of these days I will finish it, as soon as I can figure how how to make it look awesome.

Hahahaha~!

Life Bar or Death Bar?

Life Bar fills up with roses, rainbows and unicorns, while the Death Bar fills up with skulls & crossbones. :D
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tomos

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Re: Anyone else here have an unhealthy fascination with progress bars?
« Reply #23 on: January 12, 2011, 03:17:42 AM »
I've also just remembered one of my favorite DailyWTF's - Meaningless Progression. You don't need to be able to understand the code to get the joke.

this was linked in the comments :)

estimation.png

Link
Tom

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Re: Anyone else here have an unhealthy fascination with progress bars?
« Reply #24 on: January 12, 2011, 06:42:42 AM »
Hah!

I have that cartoon on my wall.  I do so many software installs in the course of a day, you'd think a progress barr would become JAPB.

I prefer the minimal approach as well, and have often cursed M$ for their animated flying papers that wriggle and float from one folder to another.

For my part, not being a programmer, I have often wondered how the darned things work.  Do they actually measure progress? Is it a percentage of the over all program size that's measured?  Is it the percentage of the number of files that are to be installed?  Does it measure the programmers' perceived notion of how long the install should take?  Does it measure some sort of programmatic "marker" during the install, and then in turn updates the progress bar?

Maybe now someone will be able to answer these questions for me, and I can get on with more important things in my life, such as how they get the tiny grains of sand into that little hourglass, how close to the speed of light does my clothes washer goes on the spin cycle, or perhaps why my cat has a slice of buttered toast stuck her back....

I guess I'm still the retard everyone tells me I am.
Daleus, Curmudgeon-at-Large