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The technique I mean is where the profile page will say "You have completed 60% of your profile, fill in your x, y and z to get to 100%." I think this is a very powerful technique but I can't remember what it's called so I can't direct my boss to any articles about it. I think it ends in 'bar.'

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Related: Do Progress Bars help completion rates? –  Patrick McElhaney Jul 15 '11 at 13:16

2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

The ui control or pattern for this is Completeness Meter (See the ui pattern for this). It's sometimes called a Progress Bar, but that term also has a much more generic use - such as in the case of a download percentage, and less specific to the sort of profile completeness you are talking about.

The underlying concept is that of Gradual Engagement. The profile completion percentage is a motivator to increase the amount of information given to the website, but essentially it's all about gradual engagement. Other terms include progressive disclosure but I prefer gradual engagement - especially since the term has stuck thanks to the likes of Luke Wroblewski - see his pages on this topic - and his preso on why sign up forms must die

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I don't think that's it. The concept of gradual engagement seems to refer to the desire to get people to sign up by making it as simple as possible to get involved. I'm talking about that technique, specifically using a progress bar, where people feel compelled to complete their profile. Gradual engagement I suppose does encompass this but it's not the term I'm looking for. I'm sure it ends in 'bar'! –  MrMisterMan Jul 15 '11 at 10:58
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By the way I didn't vote down. It was a fair attempt at an answer, I appreciate the help :) –  MrMisterMan Jul 15 '11 at 11:02
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Well I guess it also is called a Progress Bar but that's often a generic term - or a Completeness Meter - see the ui pattern for this: ui-patterns.com/patterns/CompletenessMeter –  Roger Attrill Jul 15 '11 at 11:11
    
I think completeness meter might be it. (Although I'm sure I heard it referred to as something like a 'whammybar'. Perhaps I'd forgotten to take my medication). If you edit your question to include 'Completeness meter' I can accept your answer. Cheers! –  MrMisterMan Jul 15 '11 at 11:18
    
I've updated my answer and added links of interest :-) –  Roger Attrill Jul 15 '11 at 11:23

This is a form of gamification, too. As users will want to reach 100% completion, like in a game, they will strive to complete their set tasks. Especially if there is some form of reward at the end of the 100%. http://www.dropbox.com do this especially well where they reward their users with extra storage if they complete set tasks and get to 100% completion.

The only reason I'm on stack exchange is to receive badges!! So give this one a vote ;) I'm a newbie you see.

Jakob Neilsen describes this best:

On the Web, usability is a necessary condition for survival. If a website is difficult to use, people leave. If the homepage fails to clearly state what a company offers and what users can do on the site, people leave. If users get lost on a website, they leave. If a website’s information is hard to read or doesn’t answer users’ key questions, they leave. Note a pattern here? There’s no such thing as a user reading a website manual or otherwise spending much time trying to figure out an interface. There are plenty of other websites available; leaving is the first line of defense when users encounter a difficulty.

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