Animation in Web Design: How to Get the Most Out of It?

Posted on
October 5, 2020

Web design and animations are making digital experiences more interesting. In fact, animations are great for entertaining and capturing users’ attention, creating a positive and engaging experience for them. 

For most designers, web animation designs are optional elements to attract more users. But used intelligently, they are much more than that, offering key benefits to digital products and improving the UX design. 

The value of web animation lies in its ability to make users jump out of their seats in surprise, after seeing how the elements move gracefully on the screen. Understanding the full spectrum of animation capabilities will help you use them in a more strategic way.

What is motion design?

People understand animations and visual information about 60,000 times faster than any text (Movableink). But the role of animation is complex. It offers many possibilities for designers who want to offer solid digital experiences. Just look at this example from Photoshop and see how they combine animation with web design.

You may wonder if animation is the same as motion design, but they are different concepts. Animation is the great umbrella that groups together any type of moving image: from techniques such as stop motion to animation with cartoons. 

Motion design is a design that incorporates movements. However, it’s not simply about animating an element on the page when the design is over. It is an integral part of UX because movement has to mean something. So, no matter the animation you use, the intention is to tell a story and reinforcing the texts to help users imagine the main ideas.

Motion graphics provide visual information and more intense sensations than the mere observation of a static graphic element. All this richer and complex visual experience, full of nuances and sensations, can help the brains of your audience remember your brand.

Indeed, the memory of the human being is selective and offers us its best version when we expose it to stimulating and pleasant actions or situations. A logo with an attractive design, supported by animation and aligned with brand values, is a more than safe bet.

What are the benefits of adding motion to your products and services?

  • Animations contextualize, guide and provide feedback, making information consumption easier.
  • Animations reduce cognitive load, prevent "blindness" to changes, and establish a better hierarchy in the interface.
  • Animations are not ornamental elements. They give solidity and consistency to the experience and reduce the chances of users getting lost or not understanding what is happening.
  • Well-designed animations make the experience feel smooth and it gives the impression of information flowing effectively.
  • Motion brings the sensation of interaction with physical objects through the screen of any device and makes the presentation more attractive.

On the other hand, you shouldn't use animations when it damages the functionality of graphic elements in some way. For example, you shouldn’t add animations in contact forms or any other space in which visitors enter their information because it would distract them from completing the task.

Use mesmerizing animations to engage your users

Animations in your website

As a designer, you have to create something that feels human and helps complete a task to bring the interface to life. Indeed, small details can increase UX and conversions because people evaluate a website from the visual design. 

Before creating animations, you must ensure that you have a professional logo, with style, easy to identify and linked to your brand values. Besides, when you design your site, pay attention to typography, layout, images, consistency errors, and more. In short, to ensure that a digital product has the benefits of animations, you must remember the following elements of animations:

1. Character and brand voice

Every day more digital products look like clones of one another. You only need to see the large number of messaging or photography applications that are currently on the market with similar designs. Animations become a tool for differentiation and expression that can help us create our own brand personality.

Make yourself different and add your true personality to your animations. Animations must convey the character, colors and meaning of your brand.

2. Animation for supporting the experience

Users go to digital products for the content, services and experience they offer. Users don't enter your website for watching the animations. Animated elements are not the focus; they only enhance the whole experience and impress the audience with visual elements that are consistent with your brand. Animations must support the interaction of users with the whole design.

Needless to say, you don't need to animate everything, "just because you can, doesn't mean you should." Minimalism is an important quality when designing experiences and if animating an element doesn’t add anything to the design, it’s better to leave it flat and without movement.

3. Always test with real users

Test your animations before releasing them is necessary. Unfortunately, you’re not an objective viewer of your own animations and you need, at least, someone else to give you a hand evaluating the relevance of your animations.

Testing seems like an additional requirement, but it can save designers a lot of work. By observing how real users respond to the digital product, you can determine what elements need modification to optimize your website and make results accessible to everyone. Testing enables brands and designers to avoid costly mistakes because developers spend half of their time fixing avoidable mistakes (Truelist). 

4. Animation as a functional element

Animations take up space, so you need to make them count on your whole design. It means that animations should have a function. Animate with purpose, not just for the sake of "decorating".

5. Take boredom off the screen

Users are willing to wait just two seconds for digital products to load, if it takes longer, they abandon it. Animated loading screens are perfect to keep users entertained and engaged while they wait for content to appear.

6. Give users a hint

Designers use animations to give users a context for what they can do with digital products.

7. Give visual feedback in real-time

To prevent confusion, designers incorporate animated elements that give instant visual feedback for all the actions executed. Provide clear feedback in response to the user's actions, report the status of the system to users, guide and teach users how to interact with the interface, etc. For example, a button can change color or light up when clicked or pressed.

8. System status

Users want to be in control and trust that the app or website reacts as expected. The animations provide real-time notifications of the process, facilitating the understanding of what is happening.

9. Meaningful transitions

Use animations to smoothly move users between contexts and explain changes on the screen, reinforcing their hierarchy. The motion design effectively and pleasantly guides the user's attention to the next step.

10. Direct the user's attention

Object transitions should behave in a coordinated manner. Avoid random movements because it results in distractions. All moving items should create a clear picture of where to look.

11. Mask slow loading times

Motion design helps users to focus on animations when a page takes longer than usual to load. This does not mean that you can neglect the optimization of your page, remember that search engines penalize poor performance anyway.

Additionally, if users have to wait a few extra seconds, a minigame or a funny animation can make them forget the wait because 39% of users stop engaging when images don't load. On the contrary, well-designed interfaces raise the conversion rate by up to 200%, 

12. Facilitate navigation

The micro-interactions of motion design make navigation easier and attractive for users. With motion design, you can take the opportunity to invite users to do a certain action like adding an item to the shopping cart. In fact, putting animations on calls to action will help your users know where to click.

13. Fun

Animations have the power to invite users to interact. They can amplify empathy in design and evoke emotions.

14. Animation and storytelling

One of the most effective ways in which animation contributes to UX design is by generating emotions in users. Emotions are a considerable influence on consumer behavior, so using animations is a powerful way to ensure a positive response. 

It's much easier to fall in love with a brand when it has something to tell you, right? As we have already mentioned, motion graphics are a powerful tool to help us transmit the history of our brand or company through audiovisual content.

Remember that a brand identity is a living asset that must endure over time. In this sense, the incorporation of messages to animations of all different branding elements help us to communicate in a 100% unequivocal way the values of the brand.

15. Design with care

Attention to each detail is the key to success when designing a human-computer interaction and it can help you communicate more effectively. The easier a product is for users, the more users you’ll have.

16. Harmony with typography and content

Web design is a conglomerate of elements that must work together and combine properly. Therefore, animations should work in accordance with the style of typography and content.

17. It must have a specific objective

It is not about flooding a web page with animations. Animations have to fulfill a specific mission, whether it is capturing the attention of users, presenting the products, offering a special discount, distracting the visitor while the web is loading, open new blocks of information, etc.

18. Quality over quantity 

It’s better to have a single high-quality animation on your website than having more than ten but with low-quality. According to Forrester, for every $1 invested in UX improvements, you can get an ROI of $100. Also, you must keep in mind that nearly 75% of US users look for visual content before making purchasing decisions.

Now that you know how to use animations, just show trust and professionalism. You can use them to increase conversions and optimize your platform. 

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, an animation is worth 30,000 words!

Animate to increase functionality. When animations carry no functional purpose, it feels unnatural, or even annoying.

Animations must contribute to the interactive experience and reinforce the information architecture because they are more than decorative elements in web design, they are an essential part of the process of communication, they tell stories, entertain and help users find what they are looking for.

In any case, we are specialists in making animations and we’ll be glad to help you. Contact us today, and bring your brand to life!

Posted in
October 11, 2020