July 5, 2016 The Importance of Animation in Web Design

Animation is a subject which has been related to games and creating nice effects but its potential in improving user experience has been underexplored. It...

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Animation is a subject which has been related to games and creating nice effects but its potential in improving user experience has been underexplored. It can make the user interface intuitive and make it easier for the visitor to get around your website. However, you will have to get the mix of textual content, visual content and animation effects right if you don’t want the loading time go up drastically.

Animation is not entirely new. Adobe flash revolutionized animation and the use of vector graphics in web design. Moving animators and gif files were used previously to add a fun element to the design and break the monotone of the presentation. It made the engagement livelier. It was much later that graphics designers started to understand the potential of animation to improve user experience and also drive sales by increasing conversion. Using CSS and Javascript codes have also made the pages less heavy and improved the loading speeds beyond belief.

Why is animation so important in UI?

 Right amount of animation can engage the audience and also guide them to the CTAs where they can convert. For example, when you are filling the password field of an account that you have on a website and mistakenly you key in a wrong password, immediately the field shakes to tell you that you are wrong. This design imitates the “head nodding from side to side” gesture that you often make when you know you have made a mistake.

What do you think about a prompt that slides down slowly or a pop-up that appears almost from the thin air to draw your attention to a call to action? All these effects have improved interactivity of your website. Sometimes, the icons become bigger in size as you hover your mouse over it and encourage you to make the click. A new form of animation is to use a colored circle like a halo around an icon and as you point your mouse arrow towards it, the circle starts to spin. Isn’t it cool?

Don’t overuse animation

 Although animation is great, there is a limit. Overusing it could make the page really slow. In the age of smart phones, when making a website is an imperative, you have to make your website responsive and quick. So, apply minimal effects. The most important question that you need to reflect on is that have you managed to improve user experience by using it? Is it making them happy or proving to be a useless distraction?

If you can get answers to these questions correctly and you are satisfied with the design, more often than not, the visitors would also find it attractive. After all, you are also a user. You know what makes you happy or annoyed when you visit a website, right?