UI anomalies really perturb me. I encountered one today that I’ve seen in the past–one that I just have to put into print: progress bars that reach 100% and then reset back to 0%, perhaps doing this numerous times until the task has finished. I mean, what value does this provide, other than to indicate that the process is still running? If the scale goes from 0% to 100%, 100% indicates that the process is complete–so what value does resetting back to 0% have? If it is the intent of the developer to inform the user that the process hasn’t hung, why not just use an animated icon, instead? I find this frustrating.
Why do developers find it so difficult to implement a progress bar where one pass across to 100% indicates that the process is complete?
I attended an excellent SQL Server webcast today. It used Live Meeting. I loaded the Live Meeting client about 10 minutes before the webcast began. It said that a newer version of the client was available and it recommended that I upgrade. I downloaded the update and then installed it. The progress bar went from 0% to 100%, reset back to 0%, and then went from 0% to 100% again. It did this at least two more times. As it continued, I started to wonder if it would finish before the webcast began. Fortunately, it finished in time. But for all I knew, it could have been only 25% done when the webcast began!
Even when Windows boots, the progress bar ‘resets’ numerous times until it loads. Wouldn’t it be more intuitive and helpful if it only went from 0% to 100% once? I know, I know; some users’ PCs are so slow that the progress bar wouldn’t move very quickly. Then why not use some other type of animated icon in addition to the progress bar–an animated icon that didn’t stop?