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  • Arts & Culture
  • Issue 36

Just a Minute

The trickery of online queues.
Words by Rima Sabina Aouf. Photograph by Esther Theaker.

“Good design is honest.” So reads number six of the Ten Principles of Good Design, as carried down the mountain by revered industrial designer Dieter Rams. But it’s a principle that software designers seem to disregard, especially with one innocuous-looking feature of our digital lives: the progress bar.

Downloading, uploading, buffering, processing, progressing—this is the terrain of the progress bar, a symbol that an action is underway and we are at some quantifiable distance from its completion. We might encounter these glyphs when “standing” in a virtual queue, or filling out an online questionnaire.  On a small scale, they cater to two very human impulses: to imagine a goal, and then to accomplish that goal. It’s why people love crossing items off to-do lists or clearing a

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This story is from Kinfolk Issue Thirty-six

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