Some interesting facts about progress bars and user perception:
- Organize tasks to avoid pauses toward the end. If there’s a loose collection of dissimilar tasks tackle the long ones first. Users have a strong aversion to pauses at the end of an operation.
- If showing a general trend rather than updates on the completion of specific tasks, it’s better to gear the progress of the bar to accelerate as it nears completion.
- In general consistent movement is preferred to inconsistent steps with stalls between steps.
- If a task takes less than 5 seconds to complete, the addition of a progress bar will actually increase the perception of the length of the task. For tasks longer than 5 seconds the inverse is true.
- By implementing a visual illusion of a left moving ripple you can improve the perceived waiting time by as much as 10%.(see New Scientist video in sources below).