Let's be honest - progress bars are the worst. They are visual reminders that stuff you're waiting for to download or upload is still everywhere else, but not on your computer. By filling up slower than snail snot on a winter day, they sometimes make waiting unbearable to the point when it is easier to click "Cancel" rather than "OK".
But do they really have to be like that? Swedish graphic designer Viktor Hertz doesn't think so. In his little side-project called "Works in Progress Bars", he shows how progress bars could be redesigned to be more fun and engaging. He replaced them with imaginative graphics, in which progress bars are presented as standalone images, such as cigarettes and lightsabers. (how can I ever not see them as lightsabers now?)
Combined with humorously rephrased buttons and messages, progress bars in Hertz's vision suck a lot less than they do now. If we actually implemented them in everyday application design, we could solve one of the biggest UX problems of the digital age. Think of the possibilities!