Understanding Progress Bar Percentages

When testing your survey you may notice Progress Bar percentages seem lower than they should and/or huge jumps in percentages that as you move through the survey. This is usually due to the use of features that dynamically change the number of pages that are seen by the respondent (e.g., page logic, skip logic, branching, etc. The Progress Bar is designed to calculate a percentage based on all the pages in a survey, regardless of whether all pages are ultimately displayed to the respondent.

The Progress Bar percentage is recalculated each time a survey page is submitted (via a click on either the Next or Submit buttons) and is based on the submitted page's location among all survey pages.

Each page's progress percentage-value is determined by the number of total pages in the survey. For a five-page survey, we take 100% and divide by 5, resulting in 20% progress per page. The 20% per page value is applied as follows:

  • 20% progress after Page One is submitted.
  • 40% progress after Page Two is submitted.
  • 60% progress after Page Three is submitted.
  • 80% progress after Page Four is submitted.
  • 100% progress after Page Five is submitted.

Whether any prior pages are seen or not does not factor into the percentage that is displayed. The following diagram will help illustrate this:

We would typically expect to see 60% progress on Page Four (after Page Three has been submitted). However, if Page Three is not seen by the respondent (and thus not submitted), we see 40% progress on Page Four as the last submitted page was Page Two.

The only way to avoid the jump in the percentage is to remove the progress bar from a survey. This is highly recommended if you have a lengthy survey with a number of potentially hidden pages. This will help avoid respondent confusion as well as their potential misconception that they have not made significant progress within your survey.

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