Sometimes, it seems like a file is taking forever to download (or copy). A speed of 160 kilobytes per second may seem excruciatingly slow, but that’s actually an entire late-1970s floppy disk (Figure 1) per second.
Instead of just showing a slowly filling up progress bar when downloading (or copying) a file, a computer should show an animation of old floppy disks flying across the screen (Fig 2).
This will help emphasize how much data is actually being copied: potentially hundreds of floppy disks per second!
Think about how much faster a copy would seem if it were presented in this fashion, instead of as an incredibly slowly-filling-up progress bar.
Bonus second proposal:
Instead of showing just the number of floppy disks per second, the file copy could be represented as a number of monks transcribing the file onto an enormous vellum scroll.
If we assume that an efficient monk could write eight bytes (~8 characters) per second, then a 10 megabyte per second transfer speed would need to be represented as (10 * 1024 * 1024 / 8) 1.3 million monks in a row, all writing to the same file (Figure 3).
That is probably too many monks to display on a screen at once, but the screen could slowly zoom in and out of specific regions of this enormous scroll-copying effort to really give the end user an appreciation for the effort involved.
PROS: Gives an impatient computer user a newfound appreciation of how fast their data transfer really is.
CONS: Spending so much processing power on rendering images of monks copying a file might negatively impact both battery life / energy efficiency and file-copy speed.