I have a webapp with list of background jobs (interface is similar to this template). It displays progress bar on each job. Queued jobs have indeterminate style, running have some percentage and completed are always 100%. Also each job has a badge on the right that indicates it's status.

Now should I hide progress bar when job is complete since it delivers no useful information? I tend to leave indeterminate bars for queued jobs in place to assure users that job will be processed when some background workers become available.

  • You can still use a progress bar to deliver useful information when the job is complete... data like how long it took to complete, and whether it is part of other processes in a bigger work flow are still useful indicators. But perhaps you can just hide them somewhere still easily accessible if you don't want to waste valuable screen real estate.
    – Michael Lai
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 22:56
  • 1
    I think it is generally a bad idea to use the same element for two different purposes. Users easily get confused in such case.
    – Poma
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 23:10
  • If that's the case then you've just answered your own question. There's no point using a progress bar to show jobs in progress and completed jobs because it is using the same element for two different purposes. What I was suggesting is displaying the status of the job, where it is completed (and you can include the time taken) or in progress (where you indicate the relative amount of time left).
    – Michael Lai
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 23:13

1 Answer 1


Under normal circumstances I would say don't show progress bars for completed processes, especially if you are showing a list of jobs in various states of progress. It should be easy to quickly scan the list and identify the major categories of in-process: not started, in progress, completed, and if applicable also paused and failed. It is much easier to do that if progress bars are only used where they make sense, and that's usually only for in progress (and probably paused).

I wouldn't solely rely on things like colors or a label to distinguish between the major categories. The more they stand out from each other the easier to scan the list.

As a quick example, the list you linked to could incorporate simple clues with icons and color as well as omitting the progress bar for completed tasks and it becomes fairly easy to quickly scan:

example with status

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