I may have some terminology wrong but I think the idea is sound.
There are a variety of ways to represent progress when you are increasing a number and trying to get to some set number. Usually you'll see some sort of progress bar to represent this. I'll call this a positive goal. You want the number you are measuring to be as big as possible.
What about a goal where you start at either a high number or at zero and the "goal" is to get the number as low as possible or to stay at zero? This is what I referred to in the title as a negative goal. It's like a golf score - lower is better. Progress bars don't seem to make sense, since you really want as little "progress" as possible. What's the opposite of a progress bar?
While there is always the possibility to trying to "invert" the goal so it can be represented as a positive goal (where you want a big number) but I'm not convinced it is always possible or even clear. I'm trying to find ways to represent a negative goal that makes sense to users.
Some real world business examples:
- Have an average call time of less than 10 minutes
- Have less than 3 returns
- Have no open cases that are more than 72 hours old
If you are displaying a compact list of goals in a dashboard format, some positive and some negative - what are some design elements you could use that would help a user distinguish between them? It feels like it would be confusing to have progress bars for all of them, some where you want them to be filled and others where you want them to be empty.
Using color cues could help but of course you run in to colorblind issues since the most common way to use color cues is red = bad, green = good.