Which is more intuitive?

  • Option #1 (top picture): Progress bar starts at 1,500 (previous privilege) and ends at 2,000 (next privilege)

  • Option #2 (bottom picture): Progress bar starts at 1 (the beginning) and ends at 2,000 (next privilege)

Does one variant motivate the end-user more than the other?

  • I think you should have labels with the amount of reputation the bar starts and ends at
    – mowwwalker
    Commented Feb 15, 2019 at 20:30
  • If it is about motivating the end-user, perhaps option 2 makes it seem like you are closer to the goal, but at some point the opposite might be true where option 1 makes it look like you are closer to the next target :p
    – Michael Lai
    Commented Feb 15, 2019 at 20:35

1 Answer 1


As far as fulfilling the requirements of progress bar functionality both ideas probably work ok:

  • How long a particular activity will take?
  • What’s the current status now?
  • How close the user is to completing the task?

But I would vote for option 1 as being more intuitive.Simply because it seems to be more commonly used. Take a look at some games for reference majority of those would use option 1 in combination with a label for current and next level to reach.

Probably because every time a level is passed user gets the satisfaction of seeing the progress going from relative 0 to relative 100% completion, where option 2 would only show the progress from relative 70% to 100% or so.

Here are some additional resources that might help you to reach a final decision:

  • 1
    I agree that option 1 is much better. The fact that video games consistently use that type of progress bar is strong evidence since the satisfaction of leveling up is a primary appeal of them. Additionally, change in reputation has a bigger impact on the first option and makes it feel like it's easier to progress.
    – mowwwalker
    Commented Feb 15, 2019 at 20:30
  • 1
    Option 1 shows progress from one milestone to the next. Option 2 shows overall historical progress towards an ever moving goal post. The first will be more psychologically appealing, and the second will get harder to show measurable activity on as the milestones and numbers increase. Commented Feb 15, 2019 at 20:39

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