I'm currently working on an application where users complete a flow of tasks, divided over multiple pages.
For this application, I'm considering using a progress tracking/stepper UI element. However, I'm not convinced of the actual added value of such an element. Does it help the user? Does it increase completion rate? In general, what are its main properties that are of value to the user?
I'm looking for actual, empirical research. I've found numerous articles online, for example:
Quote: "If you know how many steps you must complete in the process, you’re more likely to complete the process."
Problems with this statement: there is no reference given whatsoever, and empirical evidence suggests this statement lacks some very important nuance (reference).
Quote: "Progress trackers are designed to help users through a multi-step process and it is vital that such trackers be well designed in order to keep users informed about what section they are currently on, what section they have completed, and what tasks remain."
Problems with this statement are the same as the previous article. In addition, it cites three important aspects of a progress indicator: keep user informed of location, what they have completed, and what tasks remain. There is no empirical evidence referenced that (1) shows a progress indicator actually does all of these things and if it does it well; and (2) shows that these three important aspects are actually vital to a good user experience.
So far, I've mainly come across resources where I just have to take these statements at face value. And knowing that some statements lack nuance, or might simply be incorrect, it seems unwise as well as defeating the purpose of well-informed UX design to just assume they are true and implement them.
My question, now: can someone point me in the right direction of actual, empirical research or proper, structured analysis of progress tracker/stepper/indicator UI elements and their actual benefits/drawbacks/effects?
So far, I've looked at:
- http://uxpajournal.org/ - https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/journal/behaviour-and-information-technology - https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/hhci20/current#.UhO5Hj_-S3M - https://www.sciencedirect.com/journal/interacting-with-computers/vol/24/issue/6 - https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/hihc20/current#.UhO7dD_-S3M - https://journals.sagepub.com/home/hfs
But these pages are pretty hard to search, and terms such as
progress indicator and the likes don't turn up much useful information...