How Web Animation Can Improve User Experience?
Here are some essential tips to maximize your animation skills.
- Focus on visual feedback
- Minimize impatience on the part of your users
- Let animation guide the eye
- Rules for animation should be consistent
- Minimize disorienting animations
- Focus on short and sweet animations
- Focus on the narrative
1. Focus on Visual Feedback
Animation guidelines for UX are typically built around the notion that every component of a site should be as intuitive as possible and guide the user towards the content that interests them in the most sensible and natural way. But as sites become increasingly more complicated, designers have a lot more control over what interactivity looks like. Animation is one of the best options available when you want to make sure that your site responds to the inputs of your users and provides context or their actions.
Visual feedback can manifest in any number of different interesting ways. Buttons and other elements that give a response when clicked will ensure the user that their input was accepted, even if they have to deal with loading times in the interim. Modern graphic design trends are all about creating responsive feedback on forms where necessary information is missing or in scrolling between segments on a site with more lengthy vertical space as well. Humans are inherently physical creatures, and a site that responds to their actions in a way that mimics the physics we innately understand is one that offers a more sound and sensible user experience.
2. Minimize Impatience on the Part of Your Users
The internet has facilitated a world where practically anything you could want is available at the press of a button, but this has also created a higher level of expectation from users. Studies suggest that nearly half of users expect a site to load in under two seconds, and they grow impatient after four. An eight second load time can drive a customer from your site entirely. Unfortunately, you can’t always keep your site loading within the standards your users expect, and the less time they spend growing impatient, the better.
In sites that can’t be optimized to the standards of the customer, loading animations can play a valuable role. These sorts of animations can distract users from the fact that they’re waiting, but they also serve the purpose of expanding your brand identity. A good looking animation that captures your company’s overall culture will help sear your message into the minds of your users. Just be sure to carefully walk the line between engaging and obtrusive. Animations that are too ostentatious can remind the user that they’re waiting, running contrary to their very purpose. Simple, flat, and elegant animations are the general UX standards when implementing loading screens into a site.
3. Let Animation Guide the Eye
Smart web design strategy is all about guiding your users to the content that matters to them with as little explicit instruction as possible. The less time you spend on-boarding your users, the more likely they are to stick around. Talented designers put together sites and apps that lead their customers on a guided tour without them knowing that they’re being led, and animations can serve as some of the best visual cues around. Demonstrating the sliding functionality of a menu can help your users know how to navigate through a catalog, and more complex instruction can lead the user through the process of operating an app or site without them having to read anything.
4. Rules for Animation Should be Consistent
When you create the UX and UI for a website or app, you’re essentially creating your own ecosystem. And while users might not realize it, the process of navigating an app or site essentially teach them the internal rules by which that interface works. That means that your rules need to be consistent across the entire platform. If you’re using sliding menus to help your users navigate through the environment, then that needs to be the given standard for all or most of your menus, and it needs to respond at the same speed and in the same manner.
An organic sense of space is equally as necessary. If a user swipes a menu to the left side of the screen to make it disappear, it needs to reemerge from that same side when you need it. And overloading your site or app with too many styles of interaction will confuse your user and distract them from how the interface operates.
5. Minimize Disorienting Animations
A consistent sense of space is just as important as consistent animation rules, but designers only have too much space to work with, especially when working with mobile devices. Transition animations are practically a necessity, but you want to make sure that your animations don’t make users feel lost. When making state changes, or transitioning from a higher level to a more detailed view, functional animations can ease the user into the experience in a way that hard cuts can’t. Meanwhile, pop-ups can create a great sense of space when you’re trying to display hierarchical information to the user.
6. Focus on Short and Sweet Animations
While animation can create a unique visual flourish to your site or app, it shouldn’t be the star of the show. Each site serves a distinct purpose for its users, and animations that take too long are distracting them from getting to the information they need. UX policy suggests that animations should generally be kept to under a second in length in most instances. In cases where this isn’t possible, consider splitting up the process into multiple animations. This will keep the user engaged without making them feel like their time is being wasted.
That said, the timeline for animations should take into consideration the action that they mimic. Users clicking on a button will expect confirmation of the click to be nearly instantaneous, but designers have a lot more leeway when designing loading animations or tutorials. An animation that conveys valuable animation but could be missed with the blink of an eye loses the purpose entirely.
7. Focus on the Narrative
Apps and sites are about more than just providing users with the content they need. They’re a method for building a relationship with a customer and selling them the identity of your product or service. Animations can guide the user on a journey, but you should be thinking in terms of what story those animations tell. The experience your animations guide your users on should be logical and consistent, and it should focus on the message you want to tell your customer. UX, and particularly animation in web design, can be as much a marketing tool as it is a practical one.