Only a decade ago, user interfaces using animations were avoided, as they were often associated with websites with pop-ups and annoying intermittent ads. However, this has changed in recent years. Today, the details of interaction design and animation make a fundamental difference to modern websites and applications.

The benefits of animation

Animation has become an integral part of interface design and it’s easy to understand why. It is a tool that gives the user a signal on how to move through the web page they are visiting, for example, initially showing the overall image, and then guiding them to a new focal point.

Functional animation guides users through the interaction process, improves orientation, complements the interaction with small details that improve usability and also add special emotions and the attractiveness of using the product.

 

 

Animation is a fundamental point within the Customer Experience department, as it helps the company to create high quality users, who are in tune with the brand’s mission.

The animated interface elements not only attract attention, but improve communication with the user and help them navigate through the entire information flow. Animation not only gives movement to a static design element, but helps to show the purpose of this element. Simple, thoughtful animation can fascinate the user at all stages of product use.

Animation in web design

The possibilities offered by animation are almost unlimited. However, the main objective of the Customer Experience is to apply the animation to improve the perception of the interface and therefore of the product by the user.

Adding movement to designs can be meaningful and functional, when the right circumstances occur. A well thought out and tested functional animation has the potential to fulfill multiple functions, including:

  • Visual feedback on user actions:

A good interaction design provides feedback. Comments recognize that the system has received action from a user and displays the result of the interaction (whether successful or not). The animation should be very subtle and designed in a responsive manner.

  • Feedback button:

In real life, buttons respond to interaction, and that’s how things are expected to work. To be predictable to the user, the digital interface must act in the same way.

  • Display the result of an action:

Following the principle “show, not tell”, you can use animated comments to highlight that something went wrong. For example, by activating the animation on an incorrect password entry. The user notices the animation and instantly understands the current state.

  • Reinforce a user’s actions:

When the user clicks on “Pay”, a spinning wheel appears briefly before the application shows the success status. The check mark animation makes the user feel that they made the payment easily.

  • Changes of state:

Another suitable occasion to add animation to the design are the moments of change. Changes in user status (especially on the web) often involve abrupt changes, which can make it difficult to track. These moments should be smoothed by adding some animation to the user interface.

  • Establishing connections:

Animated transitions should act as intermediaries between different states of the user interface, helping users understand what happens when the screen state changes. The user simply follows the movement and understands how the two states relate.

How will it help improve UX/CX?

As we have already seen, there are several ways to introduce animation in the design of a website or an application, always with the aim of conquering the user. The use of functional animation elements in the design provides a unique experience and increases the interactivity of the use of design elements.

Animation can also create a Gammatization effect with the product. Offering a unique experience of interaction, thanks to functional animation unifies the brand and the product as a whole.

During the interaction with the product the user constantly receives visual information, so it is very important that the animation exactly matches the brand of the company and reflects it.

 

Fuente: Vector ITC

Source: Vector ITC

 

It is indispensable that the animation does not have something in common with the brand of a competitor or any other image that could confuse it. Therefore, it is very important throughout the design stage of wireframes to consider the possible options that can be used and indicate them schematically.

This design approach, together with functional animation, will provide a unique mechanics of interaction with the product. A well thought-out transition from animation gives the user a clear idea of where their attention is worth focusing on, while directing them to the next step using an associatively understandable animation.

Otherwise, an animation application with no specific objectives and no defined value only wastes the user’s time and distracts him from the essence of the product’s use.

Not the only design element

So far it has been demonstrated the benefits that can offer the introduction of animations in web pages, however, are not the only design elements that can help improve the relationship of the user with the brand.  Animation is just an elegant addition to the overall design, not a complete replacement.

For example, in simple actions such as logging in, pressing a button or opening the menu, it is not appropriate to use very complex animation scripts, as it wastes the user’s time and distracts them from the objective.

 

Fuente: Vector ITC

Source: Vector ITC

 

When a user encounters a cluttered interface with unstable content and distracting animation, he feels uncomfortable and leaves the website. Therefore, by offering the user several animated sentences at the same time, the user is led into a state of information overload, which can once again lead to confusion and abandonment.

Each action on the screen attracts attention, so too much volume of animation in one place will create chaos, it is better to focus on practical elements that will positively affect the behavior of users.

Union with Augmented Reality

As we move towards the fusion of the real world and the digital, functional animation becomes not only desired but essential. The development of mobile applications, is the most prominent panorama that must be addressed for now, however, the panorama of Augmented Reality (AR) is not left behind.

This is because, where some aspects of mobile application design might ignore best practices in functional animation, they cannot do with AR.

The rise of motion and spatial representation will only become more prominent and important as we move into the future. Therefore, having a solid understanding of why functional animation exists and how to combine it with new technologies such as RA can help designers develop new elements in ways that help users, generating trust between all parties and providing a sense of comfort along the way.

Conclusions

Animation is a powerful tool when used in a sophisticated way. To do this, it is necessary to adopt movement from the beginning and think of it as a natural part of the design process, because design is more than just a visual presentation. As Steve Jobs said about design:

“It’s not just what it looks and feels like. Design is how it works. It reduces cognitive load. It prevents the change of blindness and establishes a better memory in spatial relationships.”

The functional animation must be present in a measured way and serve as a user assistant, indicate key aspects of the interaction and reliably accompany the users in the different stages to achieve the objective.

A well thought-out design together with a functional animation should not force the user to think, but should only intuitively suggest the next stage of interaction.