10 Sep How motion design will transform your UI
Telling stories with animation and motion design can create exceptionally aesthetically-pleasing user experiences. More importantly though, they can create exceptionally functional user experiences. In the early days of web and app design, unique motion elements and interactivity fell into the bells and whistles category. As long as you knew the 90s-beloved <marquee> tag that sent hamsters dancing across your page, you were set.
But today, motion interactivity plays a critical role in guiding how a user intuitively discovers and engages with brands or products. Eyes follow motion, so strategic implementation gives companies the ability to subtly direct users on a journey through narrative or personalized web and app experiences.
“Motion tells stories. Everything in an app is a sequence, and motion is your guide. For every button clicked and screen transition, there is a story that follows,” according to Craig Dehner, the UI and motion designer behind the Kinetic UI. Designers are beginning to think about these moments of interaction right from the start.
Motion design helps create pleasant and intuitive user interfaces. When used appropriately, motion can guide the user experience with your digital product, while conveying a message about your brand. You can align animation to your user’s needs in order to add value and improve different aspects of their interactions.
Motion design can guide the user through an app or web experience, with animations intuitively communicating where to focus, what to do next, or what is the most important on a page. For example, an app ‘how-to’ uses visual cues to lead the user through each step of the tutorial.
Using deliberate motion can both acknowledge user input, and help them navigate through information without losing their bearings. Motion revamps navigation to make it natural or even abstract. Motion is intuitive and can bring life into the interface while maintaining context.
Users are beginning to anticipate interfaces that are fluid and responsive. When users are unsure about an element’s function, they tend to hover over it. Good user interface design capitalizes off of this intuition and comes to life by providing the user with instant feedback, like a hover animation. This enables the browsing experience to remain uninterrupted, answering any questions as soon as they arise.
Kinetic UI’s Craig Dehner says that “Your designs come alive when they respond to touch and deep connections are made when they respond in delightful ways.”
Motion design can help users understand the flow between two things, which makes navigation much more user-friendly. In addition to this, motion can be used to either entertain or distract as one feature transitions into the next. Animations can hold the user’s attention while a page loads, creating the illusion of speed, making them more likely to wait patiently for their content.
For so many modern brands these days, the bulk of site traffic comes from mobile devices. For mobile users, intuitive motion interactivity is even more critical for their touchscreen devices. Consider the popularity of swiping apps, augmented reality games, and product customization engines. But the tricks that work well on web don’t often translate well to mobile, especially hover interactions like dropdown menus and text overlays. An effective UI/UX designer will take the time to prepare synergistic strategies for both web and mobile, while many others take shortcuts by retrofitting one design for the other.
Your use of motion design can also reinforce your brand’s identity within your digital product. Movement strongly impacts how someone’s personality is perceived, and Nick Schiefer and Drew Hansen of Effective UI emphasize that the personality of motion even translates to an interface. “Motion also adds another layer of depth to an interface’s character, which invokes a higher emotional response than static visuals. When one thinks about an individual’s personality, one thinks about body language and how the person moves. The same can be said for how one perceives the motion in an interface,” they write. Motion design can ensure that digital interactions stay true to your brand, and resonate with the consumer.
Motion design is a creative way to convey a coherent narrative that will stick with consumers and is an integral part of effective user interface design. Animation can help push your brand’s identity, whether you want to convey a straightforward and efficient tech focus or a friendly and fun personality. Just be sure that your animations are purposeful and subtle enough to provide the user with an awesome experience.