No matter how hard you try to avoid lengthy, multi-step sequences in your web or mobile design, sometimes they are unavoidable. Progress trackers help to make these experiences as smooth as possible for users. Here at Arounda, we know how to handle UI/UX design, and in this article, we will describe what a progress tracker is, why and how you should create one.

What Is a Progress Tracker?

To begin our journey into the world of progress tracker UX designs, let's figure out the basics. A progress tracker is a visual element or feature designed to inform users about the progress of a particular process or workflow, breaking it up into multiple logical and numbered steps. Basically, it is a guide in a design that helps ensure users always know what's going on and what's coming up next in the sequence of actions.

Why Progress Tracker Is Needed?

Psychologically, a progress tracker eases potential user anxiety. The latter often comes with long online forms and multi-step applications. To reduce dropouts, let users know how many steps are left to reach the goal. It also helps people plan their time better by relying on progress information and adjusting accordingly. Lack of understanding can lead to anxiety, especially when dealing with pricey, delicate, or emotionally significant products, and even more if they are urgently required. 

Nowadays, people expect to see status trackers and progress updates. Having these features means diminishing user questions and saves time and money for the company. It builds trust and better relationships with customers.

Where Progress Tracker Is Needed?

Progress trackers are essential tools in UX design, playing a crucial role in guiding users through complex processes. They find applications in various scenarios:

  • E-commerce checkouts. Streamlining online shopping, progress trackers guide users through stages like cart addition, shipping details, and payment completion, reducing abandoned carts and enhancing the overall shopping experience
  • User registrations. For new accounts or services, progress trackers visually map the registration process, breaking down steps to provide clarity and expedite the sign-up process.
  • Form submissions. In lengthy forms for job applications or insurance claims, progress trackers keep users informed about section completion, minimizing overwhelm and reducing the likelihood of form abandonment.
  • Software installations and onboarding processes. Guiding users through software installations or onboarding for new applications, progress trackers provide transparency, minimizing frustration during potentially time-consuming procedures.
  • Online learning platforms. Essential in educational platforms, progress trackers guide learners through registrations, module completions, and assessments, offering a clear overview of the learning journey to promote engagement and motivation.

Progress Trackers vs. Progress Indicators: What Is the Difference? 

While progress trackers and progress indicators both play similar roles in user experience, they serve two slightly different purposes. 

A progress tracker, as previously discussed, guides users through a multi-step process, providing a visual roadmap of their journey. It ensures users know their current position in a chain of actions, making complex tasks more manageable.

On the other hand, progress indicators are singular elements that communicate the real-time status of an ongoing operation, such as the completion percentage of a file upload or the processing of a task. The design of a UX progress indicator contributes to a sense of transparency and responsiveness, keeping users informed about the immediate progress of a specific action without necessarily outlining a sequence of steps.

How to Make a Good Progress Tracker?

Successful progress tracker design examples prove that its UX design boils down to clarity, simplicity, and user-centric customization. By following these recommendations, you create an experience that helps users monitor their progress effectively and motivates and engages them to finish the process.

1. Clear Goals and Objectives

Clearly define the purpose of your progress tracker. Know what users want to achieve and tailor the tracker to match those goals. If it's a fitness app, the progress tracker should focus on key metrics like steps, calories burned, or workout duration. Users need to know what to expect. Breaking down a process into clear steps minimizes confusion.
For example, in an e-commerce checkout, steps (cart, shipping, payment) provide a clear path for users.

2. Simple and Intuitive Design

Keep the interface simple and easy to understand. Users should intuitively know how to interact with the tracker without unnecessary complexity. Use straightforward icons and labels. A progress bar with percentage completion is more intuitive than a complex chart for quick understanding. Steps should make sense in sequence, guiding users naturally through the journey. 

A UX progress tracker should stand out from other UI patterns without making the overall design confusing. For example, distinguish the progress tracker from the navigation buttons in a survey app to avoid mix-ups.

3. Visual Feedback

Provide visual cues that clearly show progress. This could be through color changes, animations, or symbols indicating completion. A green progress bar turning to red as tasks are overdue or incomplete gives users instant visual feedback on their status. Ensure that the progress tracker updates in real time. Users should see changes as they happen, creating a sense of immediacy. 

For instance, a fundraising app should instantly reflect new donations, motivating users and providing a real-time snapshot of their progress toward a goal.

4. Mobile Responsiveness

Design the progress tracker to be accessible on various devices. A responsive design ensures users can track progress seamlessly on both desktop and mobile. 

In particular, an online learning platform's progress tracker should be user-friendly on both a computer and a smartphone, adapting to different screen sizes.

5. Clear Call-to-Action

Include clear calls to action that guide users on what to do next. People should know their next steps, whether completing a task or setting a new goal. 

For instance, after finishing a workout in a fitness app, a clear button inviting users to set a new fitness goal for the next session encourages engagement.

6. Flexibility

A crucial aspect of a good progress tracker UX design involves empowering users with flexibility. Unlike interfaces that lock users into a linear process, it's important to provide off-ramps, allowing users the freedom to navigate and control their journey. Instead of forcing users down a rigid path, designers should integrate features such as a "Back" button or a "Save Progress" option. These off-ramps allow users to exit the process temporarily, fostering a positive user experience and reinforcing trust in the brand. 

By incorporating these elements, designers can enhance user empowerment and engagement, ultimately contributing to the overall success of the progress tracker UI design. For example, a 'Save & Exit' button in a multi-step form allows users to resume at their convenience.


To create an effective progress tracker UI, designers need to focus on three key things: showing the user's actions, keeping them informed about their progress, and clearly indicating the remaining steps. Making a successful progress tracker involves keeping things clear, simple, and tailored to the user. This includes setting clear goals, designing an easy-to-use interface, providing visual feedback, making it work well on both computers and phones, giving clear instructions, and allowing flexibility in the process. At Arounda, we specialize in web and mobile app design and are ready to help you reap the full potential of progress trackers. Contact us today to turn your vision into a reality.

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