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Web animation is a great tool to engage your visitors, demonstrate a product or service, or to simply make your webpage look more appealing. Here are the 3 key principles of web animation that you should know and be able to implement into your design.
Interface element animation involves anything that lets users interact with the website. These animations are usually as simple as a menu appearing when you hover over it, or the site redirecting you somewhere when you press a specific button on the page. As long as it responds to user action, it can be considered interface element animation.
A lot of websites heavily rely on this sort of animation to appear more seamless and easy to use. It mimics physical interactions like pressing buttons, pulling or pushing handles, and opening doors, in order to make the animated interactions feel as familiar as possible.
Most users won’t notice these animation elements until something goes wrong or stops working, so it’s vital to execute them perfectly when creating your website.
Storytelling animations are often a bit more complex than interface element animations. They exist to impress and interest the user, often trying to demonstrate a certain product or process. The animations implemented by many food delivery apps are a great example – they’ll show the process of food being made, and though they don’t necessarily always reflect the specific food you’ve ordered, they do demonstrate the preparation process to help you keep track of your order.
Just like the name suggests, these animations follow a story arc with a clear beginning, middle, and end. Apart from demonstrating products, they can also provide a visual representation of what is found on the website, revealing information in a clear, chronological order that’s easy to digest.
While some may not consider the implementation of storytelling animations as a necessity, this technique has proven to be highly effective in not only immersing the users and providing them with visual cues, but also in making websites more accessible to individuals that may struggle with big chunks of text, or need a physical demonstration to understand a concept.
These web animations exist purely to be aesthetically pleasing. They don’t provide users with any substantial information, nor do they make the website’s interface any easier to interact with.
Despite their seemingly limited use, they’re a great way to make a relatively simple website design stand out from its competitors – people are naturally inclined to enjoy something more if they find it visually appealing. This means that having a website with some high-quality “just for looks” animations can increase the chances of users choosing your products or services.
Examples of this sort of animation include a special cursor that only appears on that specific webpage, or text fading onto the page as you scroll down instead of just being there permanently. They look cool and make the website feel slightly more special, but bring absolutely no substance to the website’s actual content.
Properly implementing web animations is just as important as creating the animations themselves. The performance of each animation needs to be thoroughly tested to ensure that users won’t encounter any bugs or weird glitches. As mentioned before, people don’t pay too much attention to web animation until something goes wrong, so you need to make sure that people can’t find anything to criticise.
Another important thing to consider is real-world physics. Your animations need to feel natural and believable, especially if they’re depicting common, real-world processes. If the animation feels ‘janky’, it can give off the impression that whatever you’re selling or promoting is of a similar, low quality.