Animations are fun and exciting, and with the many tools available on website-building platforms, anyone can bring their site to life. Animations captivate and visually thrill viewers, but they can act as more than decoration. You can also use movement to improve user experience on a site.
Let’s explore four practical uses of animation!
The eye is attracted to movement. When one element moves on a page of stationary elements, the viewer will automatically look at the moving element. Though it may be tempting to fill a page with animation, sparing use of animation can be utilized in many ways.
An element in constant motion will create an automatic focal point. Using subtle movements on a logo or image will help the visual to draw attention and, maybe more importantly, stick in your viewer’s head.
One of my favorite examples of animation directing attention is a lot more subtle on the real estate media page that Big Red Jelly made for Platinum Perspectives. After the page loads, a yellow line animates beneath the last two words of the header, “stand out.” Making your home stand out is the point of the page, and the line appropriately guides your gaze across the words to the most important part of the heading.
Animation can be a great way to show users that an element is interactive. Look at how your cursor changes when you hover over text or a button. Users see they can do more when an element changes appearance on hover.
At first glance, it may be unclear that the three product images on this page that Big Red Jelly built for Mountainland Caramels are also links. But when they scale when being hovered over, it becomes clear that the user can click on it.
Small repetitive animations would be fantastic for mobile use. Many people visit sites by smartphone more often than by computer. Still, phones don’t offer the luxury of hovering or changing cursor states. You could compensate for that with subtle changes or movement and let users tap away!
Sometimes you can use animation to supplement the flow of a site, moving with the user as they read over a page. A popular example of this is scroll animations. As a user peruses the page, elements slide or fade into position rather than appearing all at once. Big Red Jelly uses such animations on almost all of our WordPress sites.
You might want to exercise caution when using introduction or exit animations, as you don’t want to interfere with the readability or structure of a page. But careful use can make an incredible visual experience as a user explores your pages.
Loading can take a long time, hence: the loading animation. While not as prevalent today as once, loading animations are a staple of web surfing. Loading animations aren’t just entertaining a user but informing viewers that a page is working. A user might mistakenly think a page has crashed or isn’t working without a loading animation.
In a world where speed is of the essence, quick loading is essential, and larger files may need a little animation to appear like they are loading quickly. An engaging loading animation also removes some of the tedium of waiting.
Bring Your Website to Life
Animations are fun, command users’ attention, help signify interactivity, ease transitions, and hold the place of loading elements. Big Red Jelly’s build team would happily integrate functional animations into a fresh new site for you! Check out some more examples of our work here!
Written by Avie Eichelberger