Making progress with sounds - the design & evaluation of an audio progress bar
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This paper describes an experiment to investigate the effectiveness of adding sound to progress bars. Progress bars have usability problems because they present temporal information graphically and if the user wants to keep abreast of this information, he/she must constantly visually scan the progress bar. The addition of sounds to a progress bar allows users to monitor the state of the progress bar without using their visual focus. Nonspeech sounds called earcons were used to indicate the current state of the task as well as the completion of the download. Results showed a significant reduction in the time taken to perform the task in the audio condition. The participants were aware of the state of the progress bar without having to remove the visual focus from their foreground task.