Ever since the turn of the century, the technology behind animation, visual effects, and motion graphics has grown massively, propelled by film, television, and video games. Today, motion graphics is considered to be an integral part of design in all forms of digital media. The field of web design has particularly adapted motion graphics in a big way. Website design services around the world are adding motion graphics and animation into their skillset, as more and more websites demand a fresh and unique look.
Why Bring Motion Graphics into Website Design?
As the name suggests, motion graphics refers to any kind of animation, graphics, or visual effects that incorporates motion or movement. Motion graphics was developed as the backbone of animated films but is now being used across multiple visual media platforms. Motion graphics can be used in web design to allow the site to present a lot of information in a simple, user-friendly manner, rather than a wall of text. It can be used for UI/UX design, animated text-based infographics, or other forms of promos. This provides an aesthetic balance to the entire page and also lets visitors browse through the products and pages at a leisurely and enjoyable pace. Motion graphics and animation can play a major role in how a user interacts with a website.
Memorable UI Experiences
The user interface (UI) is how a visitor interacts with a website. This is where motion graphics comes into play to create a unique and memorable user experience. Take for example, a pleasing sound that is heard when a user presses a specific button on the site followed by a small animated transition, or a website where all the pages are interconnected seamlessly and transition in a flowing manner. These are examples of great user interface designs where motion graphics is deployed.
A number of popular brands like Apple and Samsung use short videos, visual cues, and GIFs in their websites to provide users with the information they need. Websites of travel companies and agencies often make use of motion graphics to show reduced fares or a moving bus or flight to denote completion of booking. Similarly, a number of eCommerce websites also do something similar by adding motion graphics that emphasize and bring attention to deals during holidays and festive seasons.
Even a simple usage of motion graphics can turn memorable this way. Think about sites like YouTube and Twitch – when a user clicks on the “Subscribe” button, it immediately changes color, and the text changes to “Subscribed”. When a user clicks on the button again, the change is reverted. And this change happens through a small animation. This is an intuitive and powerful way to integrate motion graphics into your website design.
Effectively Using Motion Graphics
Integrating motion graphics and animation into web design can lead to seemingly endless varieties of results. Here are some very common ways web designers take advantage of motion graphics.
– Animated storytelling – You can use animations to tell the story of your brand, how it came to be, what it does, and what it stands for, etc. It can include animated infographics or animated shorts as well.
– Product shorts – These will typically occupy a bold, striking position on your product page with the rest of the design centered around it, to keep the user engaged. It helps you easily emphasize specific content on your page.
– Promotional content – Using animations in ads is an old technique of catching a visitor’s attention. They can also be made into the central attraction of the page, with all other page elements supplementing them.
– State Change – This is perhaps the most popular kind of animation used in web design. It basically refers to the UI elements changing color, shape, and/or generating a sound when you hover over them or interact with them. For instance, the “Subscribe” button mentioned earlier.
– Loading Screen – This is another old technique of integrating animation to distract a user from load times. When used intuitively, it can be used to guide the user’s eyes as well and control where they focus.
– Signature – Sometimes, companies even go on and use animation as a distinctive brand signature.
Modern Website Animation
Here are 3 modern types of animation that are implemented into websites.
– Semantic – Semantic animation is based on a simple cognitive model. It implies that we have difficulty seeing different dynamic objects that interact with each other as separate units. Rather, we see them as one single unit that brings its different parts together. In website design, you can use this model to create separate elements, each with small animations, which all come together to reveal a single dynamic entity.
– Parallax – This kind of animation centers around the principle of website scrolling. It makes different elements move at different speeds as you scroll. As a result, it creates an illusion of realistic movement, and highlights the key content and supplementary content for our brain. You can use this technique to create a 3D effect, where objects in the foreground seem visually closer to us, and so move faster than those in the background.
– Dolly & Zoom – This is a cinematic technique, often used in animated movies. But the main principle may be borrowed for use in website design as well. It generally involves transitioning within a single image. In layman’s terms, it involves simultaneously moving the camera forward and zooming in, creating an interesting change from a long shot to a close-up. It may be effectively used to highlight the key elements in your web page, or even as a hover animation.
When masterfully crafted and implemented, motion graphics can create a web experience, unlike anything most users have experienced before. It can be used to guide them through their journey within your website, and further motivate them to take useful actions such as “sign up” or “buy now”. Most importantly, it can create a lasting impression that will help your brand stand out and outperform your competition.