5 Ways to Use Animation in Web Design for a Better User Experience


Animation is an integral part of modern web design. It’s widely used to bring websites to life by enhancing important details, helping make navigation easier, and by simply providing a more elegant and visually-pleasing experience. But in the end, animation in web design isn’t just about making the website prettier. If used correctly, animation can become a vital tool for improving the user experience and ensuring that your visitors end up where you want them to go. But how can you implement animation on your website?

Well, here are five ways you can use animation on your site that have been proven to be immensely successful.

Navigation

Animating the website’s navigation is one of the most popular and the most basic ways to add animation elements to your site. With the growing popularity of hidden navigation menus, having a smooth animation for getting them to slide out once clicked on is essential – if there’s no animation, the action looks very rigid and unnatural.

Navigation animations are also important for mobile and responsive websites – there’s not a lot of space to display your site on a mobile device, so having an expandable menu is essential if you want to have a shot of fitting all the necessary information.
Luckily, this type of animation is not difficult to produce and can be handled by any competent web design agency.

Gallery

If you want to showcase products, pictures, or a portfolio of works without over cluttering your site, an excellent solution is a sliding gallery animation. It allows displaying multiple objects in a sequence, with a sliding gallery moving every few seconds to show the next object.
The important thing to remember when using a gallery is to not make it too rushed – you need to give at least five seconds for each item you want to display. Otherwise, it will seem rushed and distracting to the reader.

Also, since there’s already plenty of movement, make the design of the gallery simple, so that all of the attention can be focused on the products themselves.

Loading

Ideally, your website loads so quickly that there’s never any need for the visitor to wait for something to load. But unfortunately, some pages, especially those that need to display larger files, images, or even perform calculations based on the visitor’s input, can take a bit longer to load.

In these instances, if you don’t want to prompt the visitor to click the “refresh” button or leave altogether, you need to reassure him that the site is loading.

A loading animation is a perfect way to make the waiting seem a bit less daunting – you can make the animation playful, funny, and make it a part of your brand persona.

Hover

Sometimes it can be hard to highlight the pages that you want your visitors to click on, so hover animations can be an excellent tool for showing that elements of your site are clickable or providing more information once they are scrolledonto.
Hover animations make the user experience more fluid and intuitive, as the animations serve as a guide into where the user should click next, giving you more control over his actions.

Motion

If you feel your website is a bit static, a good interactive website design tool you can try adding is motion animations – they can help turn an otherwise bland website into one that’s a bit more stimulating and engaging.
However, when considering motion animations, it’s crucial that you don’t overdo it – if your animations distract the visitor from the core messages and navigation, they will become an obstacle to your website reaching its goals.

Make It Serve a Purpose

Animation just for the sake of it doesn’t make much sense – it will just seem forced and mechanical, which can have a negative effect on user experience and ease of use of the website.

Instead, every animation should have a clearly established function – if it’s a larger animation that takes up a large portion of the page, it should provide essential information in a way that’s easier to consume than with a static page.
And even if it’s a small ornamentation or enhancement, it should help the user to better visualize the action that he’s performing and serve not only as a visually pleasing element but as an augmentation of a task or as a way to draw the eye to relevant information.

In those instances when the animation serves as a visual element, it should be in line with the brand’s overall style and help to form a stronger connection with the viewer. When designing animation elements, remember to ask yourself what purpose it serves for making the website more appealing or easier to use.




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AUTHOR INFO

Jonathan Hemming

Jonathan Henning is a co-founder of Trafik, a New Zealand based agency providing SEO optimisation services. His strategy-first approach has helped clients gain more visibility online and generate quality leads through customised website and online marketing solutions.

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