Designing a large website is really a tedious task, it requires lots of techniques and tricks for the convenience of the user. Most of the large websites make use of Progress Trackers in their web design process. This has become common practice these days; progress trackers play a vital role in keeping the users well informed about what section they are currently on, what section they have completed, and what tasks remain.
Generally what happens that, in a very large website, especially in e-commerce store, where navigation are quite complicated, users get confused and feel frustrated which in turn may cause them to leave and pursue other options. In such a situation, there is needed to design a system for ordering online, or to provide a multi-step process which can make ordering easy and intuitive for the user resulting in increase of conversion rates.
Progress Trakers and Breadcrumbs navigation are two most common terms which you often see associated with the the web design realm. Although these two terms seems to be similar because there are so many features common in them, but in reality they are very different from each other. One one side, breadcrumb navigation is a way to enhance navigation revealing the user’s current location in the hierarchy of the application, while on the other hand, a progress tracker show the paths a user has to follow to complete a task. Thus it is regarded as the best practice to use progress tracker on the websites, especially e-commerce websites which deal with ordering of products and services.
What are Progress Trackers?
‘Progress tracker’, which is also called a ‘progress indicator’ is the most comprehensive navigating tool which guides the user through a number of steps in order to complete a specified process, and is especially used in online stores when placing an order, signing up to an online product or service, or even when booking a holiday online. Progress Tracker clearly reveals the users present location, their previous steps, and what steps they might do further. Progress tracker plays a critical role in improving website usability and thus optimizing the conversion rates.
Uses of Progress Trackers
Although, Progress Trackers are used in numerous contexts, one of the most popular among them is “Online Ordering”. This is just because this process involves many steps. Apart from “online ordering”, it is also used in “Feature Tour Guides” and “Multi Step Form”. Let us see below:
Since online ordering usually involves multiple steps, progress trackers are most commonly used in conjuction with online purchasing.
Feature Tour Guides
In most of the site, you must have seen a bar showcasing all the features of online products and services, at such a place, progress trackers are used.
It is regarded as the best practice that when a form requires a lot of user input, it is best to split the form into multiple steps, which you must have seen on the e-commerce as well as mailing sites like Gmail or Yahoo etc.
Best Practices in Progress Tracker Design
Indicating a Logical Progression
It makes a good impression on the users when progress trackers follow a pattern indicating a logical expression, i.e an arrow or any others. It makes sense and informs users that they are performing a multi-step process and they have to move in which particulr direction to complete the process.
Keeping the User Informed of their Location
As we have already discussed above that good progress tracker design keeps the user informed of where the user currently is in the process. This makes the user to think how much steps is remaining to complete the process and how far it has been covered till.
As we know that progress trackers are a form of navigation, thus it is advisable to take care of the positioning of the progress trackers; it should be placed below the primary and secondary navigation such as breadcrumbs and above the content that the progress tracker relates to. The positioning of the progress tracker as shown below clearly: