Growth Tactic #52: Add a Progress Bar

March 20, 2017

Here’s a way to give site visitors the feeling of satisfaction that comes from knowing they’ve made progress in life, even if it’s just in the context of buying a product from you. Ever notice how some websites let you see where you stand along the path to making a purchase or completing a survey? They’ve figured out that a progress bar—or completeness meter—works in their favor. Learn more about why that is, and how you can make it work for you, in our latest from the 100-Day Digital Growth Plan. It’s Growth Tactic #52 — Add a Progress Bar.

OVERVIEW — Add a Progress Bar

Everyone needs feedback, and when it comes to completing a set of tasks or steps, positive rewards are a great way to keep on track and moving forward. Even if the reward is a simple indicator of how many steps you’ve done, the psychological effect is to make you feel you’ve really accomplished something. Being the creatures we are, we then start to crave that “reward” again (yes, endorphins are involved), and we’ll keep going to get the next payoff, and the next one after that. If this is starting to sound familiar, it may be because you’ve experienced this kind of “gamification” structure built into video games and other settings (check back for more on gamification in upcoming post, Growth Tactic #58!). Ready to start building a progress bar into your site, and inspire more visitors to keep moving toward goal completions? Just, um, complete the steps below!

HOW-TO

STEP ONE: Evaluate your app or your site structure and put yourself in the user’s place. Where would a progress bar be a useful motivator to keep someone moving along–maybe in a key stage of setting up to use your app? If you happen to be an e-commerce site, a progress bar will help move purchasers all the way through and reduce the dreaded shopping cart abandonment syndrome.

STEP TWO: Get to work designing and building your new progress bar feature. Be sure to involve your web developer so the progress bar encourages users to complete a purchase or implementation, quickly and without too much interference. Make sure it is fully functional and reflects—what else?—progress made by users as they move along your pathway.

STEP THREE: When developing any part of a website or app, you’re never done until you try your best—to break it. Test it yourself, have multiple people do the same, and keep a list of weaknesses or potential problems. Push your progress bar live when you’re fully assured that it works as intended.

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