Animation in Web Design – Good, Bad, or Ugly?

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Animation in web design” – It is the most discussed topic in today’s web design market, as it has forced almost every designer to think whether they should use animation in their web designs or not. However, if we look at the survey of design-forward websites, we will find that web animation and motion has become a standard feature for almost every website. 

What is making animation so popular in the web designs? Is it really beneficial to use animation in web design? Or it can turn out to be a disaster for your web design because using too much of something can also affect your website usability negatively.

These are the questions that we will answer in this blog while talking about the pros and cons; we will also discuss when you should use animation in your web design.

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What is Web Animation?

First of all, it is necessary to understand that web animation is not like cinema animation; it covers multiple aspects of animation, such as user interface animation, CSS animation, JavaScript animation, and much more.

In the digital context, we can say that anything that moves or transits on a web app or website is considered as animation. Developers mostly use it in three different ways:

  • For adding visual interest like slides in web pages
  • To act as a response when users move their mouse over it
  • To serve as a notification

Animation has ingrained in web design and become a great addition to many web elements. But, does it bring life to the web design or ruin its presence, let’s find out.

When Animation Become a Part of Web Design?

Animation has always been a part of web design, though it’s a different thing that most people didn’t realize its presence on the web pages earlier. For example, tiny GIF files with moving images and clips were the first animated elements in web design, but finding a website that completely runs on FLASH was not possible in the earlier days.

Also, animation was not considered as a part of improving site’s usability in those days, most developers prefer to use it for a few areas in their website to make it more decorative or attractive. But, now animation is used not only to improve usability but also the navigation and functionality of a website.

In the past, animated effects and elements were created using FLASH technology, which was considered as a revolutionary technology at that time. But, using FLASH didn’t turn out to be much beneficial for developers as it was heavy and increased the load time of a website.

However, with improvements in the technology, developers started creating animated elements with the help of JavaScript and CSS coding, which is more lightweight and effective than FLASH. Also, adding moving elements to websites without overloading it has become easier with JavaScript and CSS coding.

These days animation is used to improve the user experience while becoming a great tool for web designers to make their website better and easy-to-use. Developers can now easily create content that can be viewed on different devices with different input methods, browsers, pixel densities, aspect ratios, and so on.

Why Use Animation in Web Designs?

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As we all know, web design has d rastically transformed over the years. Nowadays, developers try to create an eye-catching website that can generate better conversions and attracts users to make a purchase or view things on their websites. Animation plays a vital role in improving conversion rates and user time on your website. Visitors not only get attracted to animated designs, but they also appreciate the innovation and smoothness provided at different sections of a website.

Animation provides a way for users to interact with your website so that they can navigate through your website easily and find what they’re looking for. There is no doubt about creating a website without using animations, but if you’re planning to put some animation on your site, then they need to fill a purpose.

For example, if you want users to visit a specific page or product, then using banner Ads is the best animated elements to achieve that. Usually, GIF sequences are used as a part of animation to explain multi-step processes. But, you can use unique animated ads that users haven’t seen anywhere so that they click on it.

Earlier, many websites used to include embedded videos on web pages, which now has been replaced by animated GIFs because they use less bandwidth and doesn’t require the undivided attention of users. As a fact, mobile users react faster to GIFs as compared to embedded videos because they load quickly.

What Animation Style to Use?

When it comes to choosing the type of animation, it entirely depends on your client’s or organization’s needs. So, ask your client if they want to put any advertising on the web pages because using any animation will highly affect your page layout and the color palette.

Though you can use any color for creating animated ads, it must stand out with your web page color. For instance, if your client asks for pink color ads, then prefer using grey or blue color palettes. Well, whatever color you choose, you have to be careful with it.

As mentioned earlier, GIFs are widely used as animation for displaying ads on web pages because everyone interacts with them easily. GIFs and banner ads can be set up easily with the right tool, and your clients will clearly see their advantage. You can use a GIF to show specific product description, an event taking place on your site, or to demonstrate the working process of a tool. Also, with GIFs, users will not have to read an entire para to understand the context.

Using Animations in Web Design

What we usually do after completing a web design project? 

Obviously, we try to hand-over it to the client as soon as possible. But, that’s not the right way every time. Being a designer also include the responsibilities of making any updates even after delivering the project. But, sometimes making changes or updating a web design can be complicated, such as adding animations to the website after designing because you’ll have to go through the code and design all over again to decide where to add the animation.

Also, when you implement animations in your website, you have to consider all the pitfalls as well, some animated elements can still affect the performance and UX of a website. Below are some points that you should consider while adding animations to your site.

  • Identify whether adding animations will slow your site loading speed and performance or not. To achieve this, compare your website loading speed after adding animations with a heavyweight PC game. If the game runs smoothly than your website, then rethink the use of animation in your site.
  • Use CSS to create animations for your web app instead of jQuery because it allows you to create subtle animations that look great on any device.
  • Ensure that the animations you’re using are responsive on every screen size and device because if it doesn’t look great on any device, then you might lose a lot of visitors. You can take help from tools like Adobe After Effects or Invision to create responsive animations.
  • Start with small elements of motion on your website, and then move to bigger animation parts.
  • Include animation in the UI elements and objects where users will interact with them mostly, such as navigation areas or submission forums. Also, consider what type of animation you should use like adding a bouncing field or sliding image – which type will affect the user experience majorly.

Another important factor to consider after adding animations to your website is cross platform support. In earlier days, developers didn’t prefer to check whether their website functions equally on all platforms, such as browsers, operating systems, and devices. But, now you’ll have to make sure that the functionality of your website is not affected after adding animations to it.

It creates a new challenge for designers to test the cross browser compatibility of their web app after adding animations because testing a website consumes a lot of time, efforts, and multiple resources. But, you can use an automation tool like LambdaTest that will help you test your web app across all platforms based on your requirements.

Using animation on your website can make it unforgettable for the users. Even if there are site loading issues, many developers still use animations on their website. However, it’s necessary to consider the impact of using it on your website usability. In the end, it’s up to you to decide where and in what amount you should use animations on your website.

When You Should Use Animations for Web Designs?

Based on our experience, we have come across a few situations where you need to use animations on your website. Though these are not the only situations, there can be other circumstances when you need to use animations.

  1. To Reveal Hidden Menus

You might have come across websites or apps that use hidden menus as a design element. Many people believe that the page menu should always be visible as they’re the only way for a visitor to navigate through your website. 

We couldn’t agree more, but when it is easy to access the hidden menu, then it makes sense to implement the animation.

Some websites also prefer to have a drop-down menu if it has a large number of pages. Whatever be the scenario, it always makes sense to use animations to reveal a hidden menu. Without animations, the menu will appear on the screen instantly in an unexpected way.

However, it’s necessary to know how to add animation to menus – for example; you can select fade, expand, flip, or slide animations for drop-down menu. Well, whatever animations you choose for it, make sure you test it on both mobile and desktop browsers with LambdaTest automation testing platform.

2. To Highlight Actions using Microinteractions

Microinteractions mean using simple animations with a single-use case. For example, when you move your mouse over a button and it highlights after clicking on it – this type of animation is known as micro-interaction.

But, microinteractions should be subtle on a website, and they shouldn’t take away the attention of the elements they highlight, instead make them easy to use. But, determining when to implement microinteractions on a website can be daunting, as there are multiple elements on a web page that you can animate. Usually, it makes sense to use animations when:

  • You want to highlight specific pieces of information like price table
  • To highlight a feature on web pages like on/off button
  • If you have submission forums or contact forums on your website
  • If you have specific icons on your website

To implement microinteractions on your website, you must have adequate knowledge of CSS; otherwise, you would have to take help from a professional developer.

3. To Preview Hidden Info with Hover Animations

If you have used animation in your earlier web designs, then you might know about Hover animations – they offer a great way to maximize the information provided on the web page in the available space. Hover animations can be very helpful when you want to display multiple pictures and information on a single page. For example, adding mouseover effects to gallery items to preview the picture’s name and the date it was added.

Also, if you’re more interested in keeping things simple, then hover animations can be used as microinteractions. So, when users bring their cruiser to an element, they’ll know it’s a button, and it works.

To use any type of hover animation, you’ll have to use CSS. But, it’s not that complicated to add hover animations, they are very easy to implement as compared to other animations.

4. To Create Sliding Galleries with Transitions

Having sliding galleries on web applications have become a trend these days. The reason is sliding galleries look like a normal web page, and users don’t even realize they are looking at simple animations while sliding the images.

But, without using animations, the transitions between images would be quick, which can make it tremble. So, to avoid this jarring between sliding and make your galleries more user-friendly, it is necessary to use animation.

Though if you’re creating a website with WordPress, you can use a plugin to add animated galleries to the web pages; there are multiple plugins available to choose from.

These are the situations that we think require the use of animations. However, if you know about any other situation, then let us know about it in the comments.

Conclusion

Being honest with you – at this point, we cannot define whether animation is good, bad, or ugly for web design because it entirely depends on person to person and site to site. If you prefer to have better user interaction than loading speed on your website, then using animation can be beneficial for you. However, if people start avoiding your site because it takes too much time to load due to animation, then it is advisable not to use it. The points mentioned above will help you analyze whether animation is good, bad, or ugly for your web designs.

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