The progress bar is iconic. It's also functional. It lets us know just how much is left when something is in process. But where did it come from? How, and where was it born?
The New York Times takes a journey back into the decades of computing past, and found that in 1985, a computer science student by the name of Brad A. Myers presented on paper on "percent-done progress indicators". He found it would be useful and helpful to reassure users that their computers weren't about to crash.
To prove his point, Myers asked 48 fellow students to run searches on a computer database, with and without a progress bar for guidance. (He used a capsule that filled from left to right — like a giant thermometer from a charity drive, tipped on its side.) Then he had them rate their experience. Eighty-six percent said they liked the bars. "People didn't mind so much if it was inaccurate," Myers says. "They still preferred the progress bar to not having anything at all."
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