The pivotal role of animation in UX

Animations can have a huge impact on user experience or UX of a mobile app — positive or negative. Here is how animations affect UX…

Animation in UX of a mobile app is a whole different ballgame when compared to animation in films or video games. In the latter, animation is meant to delight and entertain, in the former, it is all business.

Animation offers a medium of story telling and visual entertainment which can bring pleasure and information to people of all ages. — Walt Disney

Animation can however be a game changer for the functionality and user experience of an app. When used well, animations can turn a dull app into a sparkling one and a complicated app into a simple one. Transitions, colour changes, little movements and more can give the app a more real, tangible appearance. This sense of realness resonates very strongly with users, allowing them to comprehend and absorb information in that much more of a intelligent and straightforward manner.

Animations have gone from being fun little add-ons that made the app lighter and more youthful, to a conduit for the registering of actions, affirming of selections and providing tangible feedback to users.

For example, when you receive an email notification, the screen jiggles a little, or a notification pop up sprouts from a envelop indicating incoming email and number count provides the visual cue for the user to quickly understand how many pending notifications are waiting.

Image credit : Behance

or subtle animations that can also be used to attract user’s attention to some important activity, such as an incoming call:

Image credit : Material Design

or simple animation showing that the quantity you want to purchase has been added to the cart after pressing the “add to cart” button.

Image credit : Behance

Then there’s transitions, textures, shadows, and movement designed to make navigation feel more real.

For example, animation reveals the content of next tab section as user swipes to left or right of the screen. It provides prominent visual cues below the tab and sense of perspective to the user, making the interaction easier to follow.

Image credit : Behance

These and many other such examples of animations have changed the landscape of the app development process (involving animations) in modern times. For all of animations advantages to be maximised though, developers need to change their approach to app development itself. No longer can animation be seen as visual bells and whistles.

Formerly animations were put in after the app was almost nearly developed. This approach will leave animations as superficial embellishments rather than integral parts of the user experience process. On the evidence of the examples above, the potential for animations to enhance an app is immense. As long as developers go about integrating them into the development process the right way, and at the right time.

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