I'm looking for some ideas on how to design progress bars for some
In the application I'm designing right now, we have two flows for two
related tasks, task A and task B. Task A has 3 steps, and Task B has 4
steps. Task B can be done independently, without task A, but MUST be
completed before Task A can be completed.
The trick is that we allow people to enter the flow for Task A, and then
jump out to Task B if they need/wish to.
In other words, instead of just doing A1 -> A2 -> A3, some users instead
go through the steps: A1 -> B1 -> B2 -> B3 -> B4 -> A2 -> A3.
Has anyone ever designed progress bars for something like this before?
We can't predict in advance whether or not a user will want to jump out
to Task B from Task A, so we can't simply include those steps in our
progress bar off the bat. The other solutions I can envision are:
a) Dynamically updating the progress bar to include 7 steps after
the user can indicated a desire to go to Task B (maybe visually
indicating that some are substeps, so as not to overwhelm the user)
b) Simply replacing the Task A progress bar with the Task B
progress bar until Task B is finished, then going back to the Task A
progress bar afterward
Phew, I hope I've been clear here. It's hard to explain without a
I can see shortcomings in both of these solutions so I'm hoping someone
might have a suggestion for something else elegant that I've missed...