I don’t know if this happens to you, but when I don’t have a clear idea in my head, I usually try to say it out loud, it helps me to clarify certain concepts, so let’s try to do the same here. As I described earlier, these animations communicate something which is difficult to explain in other ways. Based on this, we can conclude that an interactive prototype is mainly a communicational tool. What many of these animations try to show are new solutions for recurrent UX problems. The years when these animations began to gain popularity is not an accident, remember, UX problems were a constant issue when mobile software was in its earlier stages. There were a lot of new behaviors to address given the new conditions of interaction between users and more personal devices, this created the need for new solutions to improve the UX — keyword being “experience”. Interactive prototypes are communication tools to improve user experience! But we are still missing one more keyword: “simulation”. Through animations, we are not solving the problem directly — we shouldn’t — , we are not even designing a specific solution to code, we are testing assumptions. This “testing” practice, is what I call a simulation of an experience. In the next paragraph I’ll explain more in detail why I think this simulation is important, but to wrap up this part, we could say that an interactive prototype is a communication tool where we simulate user experience.
How can one use this feature in interfaces? For instance, when you are creating a set of icons, it’s important to make them all well-balanced, so that no icon stands out too much or looks too tiny. If we directly inscribe icons into square areas, the more square-like icons will look larger.