Website Animation Explained

Jun 3, 2019

Web animations have always been an integral part of the interactive experience. Animations make web experiences interesting and keep users engaged. We are constantly looking at different ways to optimise user experience for all our clients and we recently got reminded of how important animations can truly be to ensure our designs are optimised. With this being said, it’s important to remember animation is one of the most complex parts of graphic design for web platforms as it requires special software and specific technological expertise.

Animation can be complex and time consuming to create, so most companies avoid creating animations for their web clients but animations can play a crucial role in your digital strategy and client engagement via your website.

How it Works

It all started with GIF animations in the beginning with heavy 8-bit animated vector images. These frequently resulted in low resolution, pixelated visuals. These then moved over to Flash animations which soon died out because Flash was not supported on Apple devices, which then led us to CSS and JavaScript animations.

CSS and JavaScript animation work the same way as standard animations like in animated videos and films. CSS animations are constructed with a start-state, end-state and interpolation within the transition timeframes allocated to each animation. Because elements are defined by CSS properties and styling, only end-states can be defined and altered with the duration of the transition times, creating short but visually pleasing animations. But CSS animations are restricted within development. JavaScript ‘scripted’ animation has a much bigger preference with greater flexibility and control to ensure the smoothest performance.

JavaScript allows for maximum control and developers can therefore achieve brilliant animations using purely JavaScript Coding.

Features & Techniques

Web animations have become such an important feature in website design. The attraction of animated features and techniques ensure the attention of users. Looking at some website design trends we will discover the different features and techniques used on a day-to-day basis in web development.

Hover Animations

Hover animations are a great way to keep users engaged with the content featured on your website. Hover animations are quick and easy to develop, but are extremely important when it comes to the overall design layout as can be seen below:

Progression Animations

Progression animation like search animations, page loading animations and site interactive progress animations are examples of these. Keeping visitors focused during progression timeframes is key to keeping them on your site.

Scroll Effects

Basic scroll animations feel generic and dated, but these can be ideal in some cases if it suits your clean brand look and feel (but web users have become accustomed to playful animated scroll effects and they tend to work harder to keep the user entertained and focused). It’s extremely important to capture the creative attention to detail in all aspects of your site and experience the results you are looking for.

Capturing Attention

It is always important to ensure that the user’s attention is captured and held. Studies have proven that people are visual and don’t read anymore, so their attention span has decreased to below three second. If you don’t capture their attention within this time frame they will move on to another website and you’ve lost a potential customer. Including animated videos, banners, icons and typography will help you achieve better results from your site. Keeping your user’s interest is the main focus of any website as can be seen below:

Animation Should Not be a Last Resort

All animation elements and techniques featured on your website should be meaningful and interesting. Invest in the quality of your animations and don’t just use random animated elements for the sake of it (You get what you pay for – You pay for what you get).

It is equally important not to overdo it either. Too much animation could become too distracting for users if there is too much going on. Ensure that your animations simplify complex ideas and improve your overall user experience, not the other way around. Animations should add value to your featured content. Your site should come alive with sleek animations that add to the personality of your business or service.

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