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How Progress Bars Change The Way We Live

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Uploaded on May 4, 2011

Once upon a time slow connections begat the Progress Bar - bloated sites would taunt us with '15% loaded' screens. High-speed promised to kill the beast and free us from their tyranny but yet it lives! Progress bars are being used MORE lately to direct user actions. Look to Farmville and LinkedIn which push their users to collect 100% of their personal information. Incomplete progress bars are an itch that needs to be scratched. They carry the implicit language that declares 'You are here' but more importantly 'The end is in sight'. Game design motivates us through incremental, measurable progress towards a tangible goal but is this the way real life works? Is the progress bar's ubiquity in technology starting to affect the way we measure progress in meat space? This panel will reach far across time and space to look at the story of progress bars, why they hypnotize us and what we need to do - slay the beast once and for all, or throw ourselves into its partially-complete embrace...

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