Completeness meter Design pattern

Problem summary

The user wants to complete a goal but needs guidance in when it is reached and how to reach it.

Example The fact that my profile is only 80% done seduces me to interact more with the website in order to get it up to 100%.


  • Use when you want to keep the user on track of completing a specific goal.
  • Use when you want to ensure that your users complete a set of minimum tasks that make up their presence.
  • Do not use when the end-goal is dependent of a series of sequential tasks.
  • Do not use for critical goals, but rather for goals that would be nice to have reached. The idea of this pattern is to make the user perform a few more tasks than he or she would normally do.


Divide and end-goal into several sub-tasks. The end-goal can be arbitrarily defined, such as “Completeness of your profile” or “Elite member”. As each sub-task is completed, the percentage of completed tasks goes up – reaching 100% when the goal is finished.

It is often seen that along with stating the progress of the goal (for instance: “34% done”), one or more links or hints to how the progress can be improved is also provided. This will help keep the user on track and immediately move to the next task once one has been completed.

There are several approaches on how to inform and celebrate that all sub-tasks and thus also the end-goal has been completed. One is simply to indicate that now all tasks has been completed (as in “Your profile is complete!”) along with a “100%” mark. Another is to award the user with a collectible achievement: a badge, trophy, or similar award that he or she can decorate his personal profile with and show off to his or her friends.

A third way to celebrate completing the goal and its sub-tasks is to announce it in his or her profile feed, or even on a centralized site-wide feed.


This pattern uses a set of psychological drivers that pushes the user to move forward towards the end goal.

One is curiosity. We are curious to find out what happens when we reach 100%. Will I be rewarded or will my profile look different?

Another is the feedback loop. As the user completes sub-tasks, his or her progress moves towards 100%. A clear link between completing tasks and reaching the end goal has been established.


As humans, we feel inclined to complete goals we have decided upon and their tasks. Most often we choose for ourselves what goals we want to spend time on completing, where after we put our mind into it.

The Completeness Meter pattern is an attempt to present such a goal to the user in order for him or her to decide completing it. By presenting easily completed sub-tasks, it is possible to convince and persuade the user into spending time he or she in other circumstances wouldn’t have.

More example images of the 'Completeness meter' pattern


    At the Danish car-tuning enthusiast website "", a completeness meter tells me that my profile is only 36% done! Furthermore, it also hints me that following one or more car profiles will get my completeness meter up to 43%!


    At slideshare, a text string tells you how far you are completing your profile. Even though it's not presented graphically, the behaviour still represents that of a completeness meter.


    A completeness meter at tells you how far you are completing your profile.


    Completeness meter on facebook. When you view new profiles on facebook, their progress is displayed to everybody else than the profile holder. This is in contrast to how the completeness meter is normally used on profiles: to indicate progress to the holder of the profile and not everybody else.


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