Animation and Motion: The New Mobile User Experience Design Material

This is the era of smartphones and phablets. It is expected that till 2018, the growth of this market will be exponential and hence everyone is trying to create stuff that gives users the best experience. The designers are incorporating new ideas, themes and techniques. For instance, today they make use of new and improved CSS3 instead of complex Javascript animations. Animation and motion are introduced to add meaning to the user interface and offer immersive interactivity.


User Is the Prime Focus

The prime focus while designing is the user. Every change and every innovation is done keeping in mind how the user will take it. Well-designed animations make the experience feel crafted. If you think rationally, animation is actually a double-edged sword and hence should be wielded by a master swordsman and not an amateur. Only an expert has the ability to recognise the invisibility of animations, which is equally important as designing them.

In today’s scenario, the role of animation has enhanced from the conventional eye pleasing nature it was known for a couple of years ago. Today the purpose is to feel human and also accomplish the task rather than just fascinate the users. To achieve the right purpose, it has to be used in the right context and settings and has to be incorporated subtlety to make it more instinctual, fun, and less ostentatious.

Animation Gives Life to Images

Movement breathes life into everything it touches and the designers today are leveraging the inborn traits of humans. Human minds are genetically engineered to sense movements in our surroundings. So, by introducing the motion in otherwise flat and lifeless templates, they are trying to influence and enhance the user experience of web visitors. A touch of immersive interactivity coupled with subtle animation can work wonders for improving the user experience.

The Art of Animated Mobile UI

All said and done about adding animation and motion, the fact remains that it is not an easy task. It is an art and only a handful of people are equipped to add it beautifully. It needs patience, an eye for subtlety, experience and a thorough knowledge of how objects and people move through space and time.

Today, transitions and subtle motion-based animations are emerging as a new and compelling mobile design material. The addition of motion to mobile experience is capable of bringing out more clarity, joy, and fun in the user experience. The catch here is that it should be used with efficiency and grace. If the designers try to experiment with funky transitions, it can actually destroy the whole experience. Thus, it is of paramount importance that before incorporating these trends, you should understand the guiding principles behind this art of animation and motion. Only then, you will be able to do justice and will be able to create the perfect experience for the users.

The question that arises is what is an ideal user interface? Should it provide attractive prompts or should the designer leave it to the intellect of the user to figure out things?

So, ideally speaking, an ideal user interface, which will provide the user with the best experience, is the one where everything should be easy to locate and it should be designed in a manner that it prompts the user to follow the navigation easily. It should not leave things to the users to figure out; else in most cases, the users will abandon the site in no time. A research suggests that the user’s attention span is just 3 seconds on a particular page and if you leave it to them to figure out where to go from a certain point on the website, where to click to go to the desired page and where to look for more info, they will abandon it in no time.

The sole purpose of any user interface is to provide an information-rich canvas where the user finds all that is needed effortlessly. With so much of mobile penetration already happening in the society, there are few things that users are already familiar with. For instance, if they want to search anything on the given page, they automatically look towards the top right for the search bar. So, some things are taken by default and the designers should not try to change these things. They should focus on areas that are foreign to users and place the guiding beacons appropriately for the users to navigate through them effortlessly.

The designer needs to make judicious use of anticipation, interaction and staging when applying animation and motion to a mobile experience. This will engage both the experienced users and those who are new and need help so that they don’t feel anchorless as they navigate through touchscreen experiences.