I'm used to see that the progress bars fill from left to right (and in some cases from right to left in rtl languages). However, in a case where you follow a step by step that will always end in a known result, it also makes sense to go bottom up; see Facebook's timeline, git's branches or what Headspace's app does.

Headspace's timeline

Even though, there are still the classic numbered lists, which go top down. This seems to be the most universal way to think of steps to follow, but it doesn't look really stimulating from my point of view, at least.

For a tasklist where a task may depend on others already done, which of the alternatives gives a real sensation of progress, even stimulating the user to keep going?

  • The answer depends on the context. For example, in a checkout scenario you'd want to use something from left to right and minimal to indicate progress without the user having to leave the screen/task. But in a video game where one may solve a series of quests before moving on to the next level, a screen/page devoted to one's progress, such as your example above would be appropriate. If you could provide more context, that would be helpful in suggesting an appropriate answer. Commented Oct 28, 2015 at 21:56
  • @JuliaRezsnyak thanks! I added a quick context in the final question. Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 8:44

1 Answer 1


Asked a similar question last week. Hope you find this useful.

timeline for desktop and timeline for mobile

As Julia commented it really depends on the context.


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