Animation is a hot point in the app or website development: some say that it overloads the screens and pages while others show how helpful it is for users. Anyway, today most users expect the motion in the interfaces as a must. Let’s see what types of UI animation are popular and widely used and how they may influence user experience. Traditionally, with a big pack of examples.
This is perhaps one of the most diverse and numerous group of UI animations. It aims at informing a user about the progress they have with the app or website. It’s hard to imagine something worse than waiting without understanding what’s going on – loading and progress animations solve this problem. For example, a pull-to-refresh animation shows that the page is reloading the content. Progress bars inform how far the user is into the process and if the completion is close.
This type of animations navigates the user through the interface. It gives the prompts that some layout elements are clickable, swipeable, pullable or tappable. For example, when something in the web interface layout is animated on hover. It draws users’ attention to the core elements of interaction this way strengthening visual hierarchy and intuitive navigation.
One more type of UI animation that has a strategic meaning for the app or website usability. Basically, this animation informs a user that the action is done: the button is pushed, the menu is open or closed, the file is uploaded, the payment is accepted and so on, and so forth.
Why is it important? Because just tapping the screen or clicking the mouse for the variety of actions we need to understand what’s going on. It’s different from the interaction with the physical objects.
Simple example: typing the text with a keyboard, feeling the keys texture, resistance and hearing the sounds, is totally different than typing the text on the smartphone screen which gives no physical feedback. So, vibrations and visual signs play the big role to make users confident in interactions.
The same happens when you hit the button “Pay” on the e-commerce website but nothing happens. Was the payment done? Should you push the button again or will it register one more payment and will take your money twice? Give a quick visual hint like changing the color of the button, transforming it into the tick sign or opening a popup with further details to help not only users but also business owners who will not have a mess with payments or hundreds of wrong clicks.
No secret, we spend hours of our life scrolling. Sure, it may work without special effects and animation. Still, motion makes the process more elegant and harmonic. It often imitates natural interactions from the physical world and gives the interface an integral look. Keep in mind that scrolling may be applied in different directions, not only vertical but also horizontal.
Yet, it’s not only about beauty. Animation of this kind can also help to support visual illusions of more space on the screen or clarify the limits of the elements quickly. It’s particularly appreciated in mobile interfaces with their limited screen space.
As I mentioned in the article about popular UI design trends, experiments with animation of transitions are found in many designers’ portfolios. Animated transitions add originality and fun to the interactions with a user interface. They allow an app, landing page or website to stand out from the crowd. What’s more, they often set the strong associations with the real world. When the webpages turn over like the pages of a paper magazine or cards are pulled like the real ones, it’s engaging and memorable. And it may even be a reason for users to stay longer on the website (which is good for SEO) or app.
This type of animation is often found in tutorials, tooltips, and screens with informative visual content. Motion allows designers to attract users’ attention to the graphics and provide quick prompts. Here you can also find animated characters and illustrations.
Integration of visual brand identity in UI design is nothing new for now. Corporate colors and typography, logo and mascots, offer visualizations, custom illustrations and photos – all that stuff enables product and marketing go hand-by-hand. Animation is taking more and more presence in this perspective. For instance, logo animations add the mood and catch the user’s eye.
Whatever catchy and stylish the animation looks, your decision to apply it in the application or website should be well-weighed and well-tested. Let’s briefly check what are the strong sides and drawbacks of UI animation in interaction design.
Disadvantages designers have to consider:
So, analyze all these factors together with user research before you make a decision.
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