Cast your vote!

Clearlooks-cairo has animated progressbars again, thanks to some evil hacks from Kulyk Nazar. In addition to animated progressbars, we also have fading checkboxes and radiobuttons. Pretty neat stuff!

But that’s not what I came here for. I’d like everyone’s opinion on the direction the progressbar should animate. Below are three progressbars. Two of them animate in a different direction, one of them doesn’t animate at all. Please let me know which one you like most by clicking on one of them.

Left to Right Animation
Vote left to right
Right to Left Animation
Vote right to left!
No Animation
Vote no animation!

Unfortunately, you can only vote once per IP address. Sorry for the inconvenience!

Oh, and feel free to tell me why you prefer one over the other, by adding a comment below.


84 Responses to “Cast your vote!”

  1. Fred Huang Says:

    Voted for left to right as it looks like you’re progressing. The right to left progress bar gives me the impression that I’m moving backwards, although this is probably because I’ve grown up with languages which read from left to right. May not be true for right to left languages. Looks awesome though! :)

  2. CJ Hard Says:

    I like right to left, because it gives a sense of speediness and snappiness somehow.

  3. SchAmane Says:

    So, everybody vote for Left to Right now !

  4. Taku Says:

    Yup’, just to thank you because you really make a great work.

    IMO, right to left is really disapointing to me, because it makes me feel that the progress is “inversed”, would be nice when the bar is “decrementing”.

    No animation is really sad, but I can understand that some people can’t bear the “all animated” themes.

    Excuse my english =) ( I’m just a little froggy )

    Good work Richard.

  5. Taku Says:

    wow, so many replies in so few time ^^ seems like everybody feel really interested in your stuff =).

  6. Søren Hauberg Says:

    I think left to right makes it looks like it’s moving in “the right direction”, since the animation is moving the same way as the bar. I do however feel that the animation is a bit to fast, perhaps it could be slowed down just a bit?

  7. Ivar Says:

    Left to right, just looks more natural…

  8. Neil Dunn Says:

    Pretty simple, left to right because the progression of the whole bar is left to right. :-)

  9. dwp Says:

    I voted for NO animation. I don’t need lots of distractions. The point of the bar is to show the amount of progress any time I look at it.

    Similarly, I find the blinking Metacity does to items on the Gnome task bar very distracting. What’s the point of multitasking if it’s always thrown in your face?

    I think any theme should allow for switching animation off. Windows 98 allowed it.

  10. Brian Pepple Says:

    Went with left to right, since it looks better to my eyes. I agree with the comment, that this is probably due to growing up with a language that is read from left to right.

  11. qgil Says:

    Voted left to right because my locale also works in this direction, as Fred has pointed. Will Cairo be so clever to change the direction depending on your locale? B)

  12. qgil Says:

    Ooops, but then if your locale works right to left the progress bar should start in the right side as well… I’ll leave this to right-to-left users’ opinions. :)

    Maybe because of the combination of blues, I see this progress bar like being filled wit water that pushes the bar with its waves.

  13. Daniele Medri Says:

    Voted “Left to Right” animation.

  14. Ikke Says:

    Left to right all the way. Even more progress in a progressbar :-)

  15. mathrick Says:

    Voted left to right, but make sure that for RTL locales it’s reversed! It’d be unnice if we LTR languages users imposed our unilateral beliefs on others :) .

  16. Emil Jacobs Says:

    No animation for me

  17. Sergej Kotliar Says:

    I think the choice is a bit faulty.

    Much more appropriate would be seeing the actual progress happening too. When you don’t see the progressbar progressing the only one that moves “forward” is the LTR one.
    When you have a progress happening LTR, and the animation goes RTL is a totally different story.
    There are probably other situations too, but let us see the progress happen!

    I’m not voting, my vote i a split vote between LTR and RTL. Animation is great!

  18. qgil Says:

    Well, now I see that with a metalized 3D effect you would get a right-to-let working perfectly wit the paradigm of the screwdriver. Attach a ‘wall perforation’ loud sound and you well get no less than 34 enthusiastic industrial users switching to it.

  19. Uzytkownik Says:

    I’ve choosen left to right animation, but no animation is also possible for me.

  20. Wil Says:

    Why is there a “no animation” option on the ballot? Animation is already optional (and disabled by default) in clearlooks. Please don’t let the anti-eyecandy mafia vote away the option for the rest of us to have animated progressbars!

  21. Daniel Borgmann Says:

    You know why I vote right to left. :) The movement to the left creates the optical illusion that the bar is growing, even if it’s not. That’s the whole point of it, to ensure the user that something is happening. For that reason I believe that left to right isn’t correct, even if it seems more obvious at first. I don’t like the feeling that my bar is actually shrinking. What direction does OS X use by the way?

  22. Nate Nielsen Says:

    I voted for ‘no animation’. The progress bar is already moving (though perhaps slowly at times) so I prefer that the little graphic things stay still.

  23. Travis Reitter Says:

    How about no direction/vertical animation? That way, it would still be obvious to the user that the program hasn’t frozen, but it wouldn’t make them think that it’s somehow making progress (even if it isn’t, as directional animation implies).

    Either that, or just have the animation follow the same direction as the progress :)

  24. paul Says:

    i voted L to R - since progress is from left to right, the animation should follow it.

  25. lizardking Says:

    I vote for right to left. beacuse l2r is so normal. The sense of installation is done by the progress bar that enlarge not by the animation.

  26. onetruth Says:

    Left to right because it shows progressing from the left with nothing to the right where it will finish. Left to’s the only way to fly! :)

  27. Stephen Roller Says:

    I think either LTR or RTL would look good if you slowed the animation down. It’s way too fast.

  28. philbull Says:

    I voted for none. Animation is very eye-catching and some progress bars just don’t need to be interrupting a user’s workflow by rotating at them (as per the window list flashing mentioned in a comment above).

    I consider animation more of a feedback thing, so having constant animation on a progress bar not doing anything isn’t telling me anything. This would be eye candy for eye candy’s sake! If the animation were only while the progress bar was

  29. Jonty Says:

    OSX uses R-L, if memory serves!

    Personally I voted L-R, but now I’m not so sure….would be nice if it was an option :D

  30. Joshua Bergland Says:

    I voted Right to Left … When I look at the progress bar as it “progresses” left to right, I think of the animation as tire tracks left behind.

    I can understand the Left to Right animation also, but if I am staring at a progress bar long enough to see the animation it means its going to take a while. The L to R one tends to make me a little more anxious for the task to complete then the R to L one.

    The R to L lets me know that a task is in progress and tends to have my eyes focus on the amount that has been completed, but the L to R animation tends to make me focus on the empty progress bar and how much is left to be done.

  31. Moritz Kaufmann Says:

    thats basicly the glass half empty / full thingy. From right to left it has a negati v feeling, the bar tries to move to the left and thats not what we want at all. The other way round is more for the positive people, its pushing the bar to its limits. This is very motivating if true but people will be angry when not. But people would get angry anyways so I am positive today so left to right has my vote


  32. Stalwart Says:

    Left-to-right feels “right” to me

  33. Chris Murphy Says:

    I think left to right when the progress bar is increasing, and right to left when it is decreasing. I would also turn down the framerate - it’s a little overeager ;-) .

  34. Rui Says:

    For me it should be configurable between the 3 (or more) options. The default doesn’t matter as much.

    What I would really like is that the thing was a lot snappier a la OSX (*sigh* we always end up on that system). I’m already running the animated theme on X 7.0 and the speed in’s that great namelly when I use the Widget Factory and move the bars with the mouse.

  35. manicka Says:

    I’ve been using the left to right animation patch from cvs for some time. It’s execellent. I’d like to see animated tabs inluded as well :)

  36. geppy Says:

    I agree that left to right looks best, but I also only use left-to-right reading languages. It would be interesting to see if this could be considered a localization issue: if right-to-left-language-speaking people feel more at home with the right-to-left animation.

    Either way, left-to-right is my vote. :)

  37. Daniel Borgmann Says:

    This is no localization issue, since everything is swapped for right-to-left languages anyway (including the animations, although that might not be implemented in clearlooks-cairo yet).

    The problem with this is that you can look at it two ways. For me the most notible thing isn’t that the animation moves to the left or to the right, but that it creates the illusion of either shrinking or growing. With left-to-right it looks like it’s shrinking, with right-to-left it looks like it’s growing. I don’t want my progressbar to look like it’s shrinking. Another problem with left-to-right is, that the animation speed and the actual progress speed cancel each other out. So if both move at the same speed, it would look like the animation is standing still. With right-to-left it’s the opposite, so the animation will look faster if there is actual progress.

    Also consider that the animated progressbar in non-cairo Clearlooks moves from right-to-left, which also matches the original mockup by Jimmac.

    Not that it really matters as long as the animation is disabled by default anyway, just making some points.

  38. Anders Aagaard Says:

    I think the reason people disagree here is the direction of the bars in the animation.

    Some people will see bars moving L to R, and think of it as progress, other people will look at the data inside the bars, and L to R gives the illusion of pushing something down, instead of lifting something up.

    I think if you keep it L to R but flip the bars so it looks like it’s moving left AND pushing something upwards it’d be easier for my brain to decode as progress ;)

  39. Chris Hubick Says:

    I think it would be nice if the animation signified something - perhaps only animating when the state is updated (thus showing that the application is doing something rather than locked up [GUI thread could still be animating], and also showing progress when too small to cause the bar to grow in length).

  40. Simon Hofer Says:

    IMHO right to left is more obvious. It’s like driving a car and watching the environment passing by, which leads to the impression of progress.

  41. Stavros Giannouris Says:

    Voted Left to Right - feels natural here, too :-)
    An option to disable animation would be nice for those who don’t like it though

  42. Tim Says:

    Default: no animation, but both ways of animation should be available as an option.

  43. Marc Says:

    Just copy whats Mac Os X has and get over it, If it´s Apple, it is good and thoughrouly though over for a good experience + good eye candy.

  44. Jengu Says:

    Left to Right, the animation should go in the same direction the progress bar moves.

  45. Craig Box Says:

    I’d vote LTR, as it’s the direction the bar moves, except someone from my ISP’s transparent proxy has already voted. Unfortunately block voting protection sometimes has the opposite effect :(

    Is it sensible to have a RTL progress bar in an RTL text environment?

  46. Ken Says:

    L-t-R is nice, R-t-L is OK, and I could probably even live with no-animation (though it doesn’t give the impression that Something Is Happening that the others do).

    But for the love of god don’t make this a preference! I’m already the laughingstock of all my Mac friends for all the dumb preferences I already have to set, and I’d probably just pre-emptively commit seppuku if Gnome grew a “Direction that progress bars animate” preference.

  47. Jones Says:

    Why not having an option param in gtkrc so ppl can choose their prefered animation?

  48. Scott Robinson Says:

    I also went with left to right for the reason that it appears to be growing. Right to left should be used for progress bars that are shrinking.

  49. J.B. Nicholson-Owens Says:

    I think that Scott Robinson put his finger on it. I too prefer that the animation move in the direction of the progress bar, and so I’d prefer that the vote choices read “in the direction of the progress bar”, “against the direction of the progress bar”, and “no animation”. However, I’m sure that the vast majority of progress bars move one way–growing to indicate progress–so in most cases this is effectively the same as the extant choices.

  50. Shawn Says:

    I voted right to left because it follows the logical motion and behaviour of a screw moving. Although at a fast constant speed the rotation may give the impression of backwards progress, if it moves only when subtle progress is made in the background it will be fine as well as give a better indication when the action stalls.

  51. Jan Alonzo Says:

    I voted for ‘No Animation’ because I don’t see the point of animating a bar that is already moving from left to right. There are other cues that could be added to the progress bar but animating the ‘progress indicator’ is just too distracting.


  52. Idan Says:

    I voted LTR, but really what I’m voting for is “culture uniformity”:

    If the culture is LTR, then should move LTR
    If the culture is RTL, then should move RTL
    If the culture is neither, then should move in one or the other directions. (pick at random, could default to RTL since it is more commonplace in the worlds’ laterally-written scripts.

    The second item I’d like to address is the animation’s obtrusiveness. Many comments express opposition to the animation on the grounds that it is “annoying” or “the progressbar is already ‘moving’ by filling up”.

    For the case of the first complaints, the issue is that there is no good “animation” mechanism for standard widgets in GTK, so it would require some underpinnings to have a “draw-but-don’t-animate” widget. Perhaps a better workaround is to compile two versions of the engine out of the box, and when people choose the GTK theme in the list, let there be “Clearlooks” and “Animated Clearlooks”. Win-win.

    [PERSONAL OPINION] Also, my aesthetics say that the progressbar’s two diagonal colors would be better if the difference was much more subtle. Granted, OSX has been doing this for years already and people there accept it as the status quo, but I think we can go the more understated route.

    For the second group of people, complaining that we don’t need animation because the progressbar’s already “animated”, I’d remind them of the last time they sat in front of an unmoving progressbar, wondering if the application was crashed or still active.


  53. Idan Says:

    Whoops — I meant to say “If culture is neither, default to *LTR* since it is more commonplace…”

  54. LeRoutier Says:

    i vote for L to R in coutries where people write L to R and R to L in countries where people write R to L

    use the locale luke

  55. Tim Says:

    I voted right to left because it looks like it’s drilling forward (imagine the colored part as the drill bit). That seems more natural to me.

  56. Ploum Says:

    “Voted for left to right as it looks like you’re progressing. The right to left progress bar gives me the impression that I’m moving backwards”

    me too

  57. Murray Cumming Says:

    The bikeshed should definitely be painted brown.

  58. Roberto P. Says:

    I voted “no animation”.
    Not that I don’t like it, but sometimes progress bars are used as static level indicators (for example in System Monitor, second tab, to show how much space is used in my HDs). Animations are out of place and misleading in such a case.
    Maybe a way to programmatically (a new property in GTK?) tell the theme engine that a particular progress bar really is a static level bar could be the solution.
    However, until a similar solution isn’t found, please turn progress animations off.

  59. sam Says:

    right to left. but slower
    gives the illusion that the bar is growing.

  60. Mark Florian Says:

    Left to Right

    I think, though, I’d prefer to have the strips oriented perpendicularly to how they are currently. That’d give a sense of moving upwards, rather than down in the current LtR animation.

  61. Elias Pouloyiannis Says:

    Left to Right.
    Just because the progressbar progresses left to right. (In a right-to-left-progressbar I’d choose a right-to-left animation)

  62. Vaibhav Kulkarni Says:

    Voted for NO animations. It’s OK to have fading animations while mouse hover/leave, but to have it run constantly is quite distracting. Also if you’ve observed the progress bar progress, you automatically get an animation feeling due to the slanted stripes.

  63. Ralph Says:

    I prefer left to right, because the progressbar is going from left to right

  64. Thomas Says:

    The vote asks the wrong question. It should not be ‘left to right” or “left to right”.

    It should be “in the same direction as the progressbar is filling” or “in the opposite direction”.

    Phrased like this, it becomes quite clear that “in the opposite direction” is not a good choice :)

    As people remarked here, the choice might depend on whether you are in a LTR or RTL locale. If, in RTL, the progress bar fills up Right to Left, then the animation should also be right to left.

    Anyway, the question should be rephrased.

  65. Casey Says:

    I like the animated left-to-right, because the animation indicates something is happening and secondly the progress bar moves from left-to-right so the animation should follow suit.

  66. Luca Says:

    One more vote for left-to-right, much more natural, since the rogress bar grows to right.

    Only one note about the speed of animation. Is it possible to slow it down a bit?

    BTW, very good work, thanks :)

  67. SchAmane Says:

    @Roberto P.
    >>Not that I don’t like it, but sometimes progress bars are used as static level indicators (for
    >>example in System Monitor, second tab, to show how much space is used in my HDs).
    >>Animations are out of place and misleading in such a case.

    System monitor dont use Progressbars to show HDD used space. So its not animated in any way.
    And. There is way to make animation theme file deppend, even speed of progressbar animation could be themable.

  68. kenneth topp Says:

    if it were a drill bit or cork screw it would be RTL, correct?

  69. Bero Says:

    Speedup the animation.

  70. Vincenzo Says:

    I prefer left to right. Anyway, is it possible to link this behaviour to some kind of choice related to the direction of writing in different national settings ?

  71. Ken Says:

    After more consideration, I’ve changed my mind: I prefer RtL.

    LtR looks like it’s “pushing” for progress but not moving — or perhaps gives the illusion that it’s moving, when it’s not. RtL gives off “I’m working” vibes, but doesn’t give off any other (misleading) illusions. Interestingly, while LtR sometimes looks like the right edge is changing, RtL never does, perhaps because it’s seen as a solid “source” of the moving stripes. Whatever. The observation that it’s doing the same thing a drill or corkscrew would is neat, too.

    Maybe that’s why Apple chose it, too.

  72. nicu Says:

    Left to Right because this is the natural direction for a progress bar or none because is easier on the eyes.

  73. bvc Says:

    right to left

    as it has been stated, I want it to grow, not shrink.

  74. koke Says:

    I’d definitely use the animation in the same direction than progression.

    Moreover, making progress bars right to left if locale requires it would be great IMO, but should be checked with RTL users.

  75. Jj Says:

    I voted for no animation, since im really resource cheap
    I dont want to waste cpu cicles animating a progessbar, when there is something more important behind :P

  76. Richard Says:

    Left to right for sure. It gives the illusion that the empty space on the right is being filled by the animation.

  77. TelNet Says:

    RTL! It`s more dynamic.

  78. penguin Says:

    animate direction should refer to the direction of the progress bar grow, just like which in the TheWidgetFactory (the default?).

  79. graabein Says:

    I like right to left. It looks more natural to me. I expect it will be possible to toggle animations on/off…?

  80. Ken Says:

    Jj: But would those CPU cycles have been used, anyway? Whenever I see a progressbar, it’s because I’m waiting on something that’s not CPU-bound — CPUs are really fast! Progressbars I regularly see: downloads (network-bound), burning discs (optical drive bound), copying files (hard disk bound). The only times I’m CPU-bound are when I’m doing fullscreen graphics (OpenGL programs), and in those cases, they don’t use Gtk+ progressbars at all.

  81. tobsucht Says:

    i like right to left because i think its funny that the progressbar goes from left to right but the animation from right to left

  82. Taku Says:

    Just a message to congratulate you Richard, I just tested the new clearlooks-cairo and it fits really great with Gnome, really you made a great work, thanks a lot.

    Just a question about the metacity mockup : will it be changed ? because now, it seems very under the level of the clearlooks gtk theme.
    Thanks for your answer, and overall, thanks for your work.

  83. Richard Stellingwerff Says:

    Taku, yes it will! Pretty soon Daniel’s going to reveal the new look :)

    Stay tuned!

  84. Jean-Baptiste Says:

    It’s notning but my mind. Yet “left to right” choice seems better, because it’s like a “pushing ahead wave”, and I like it.

    I know, it’s all in my mind.

    Despite I would rather “left to right”, i realised that, in a way, “right to left” make the progressbar advance, even it’s remaining at the same place. But such effect is better rendered in Panther, Your given animation can’t make me feel the same way.

    Ok, ok, I go to a psychoanalyst cabinet… ;-)