If you’re creating the web design for your site, then you will probably be excited to add as many bells and whistles as possible. We all want to stand out and be the best and we all want to show our business in the best light possible – so you’re probably urging your web designers right now to throw everything they’ve got at your design and to make it their magnum opus. One such feature you might be encouraging them to add? Animations.
When Animations Work
When used correctly, animations in your web design can add a level of sheen and polish that sets your website apart. Most websites still aren’t animated, which means that a good animation will immediately jump out and draw attention to itself in a positive way. It will be different and that will make it stand out – which in turn will make your site and your business more memorable.
At the same time, animation can be used to communicate something with your viewer. For instance, if a page transition goes from right to left, this tends to tell us that we are progressing throughout the hierarchy of that site’s pages. On the other hand, an animation that goes from left to right, often suggests we are moving backwards. This is something we understand innately due to our experiences with print media.
In fact, a good animation can even allow you to use entirely novel forms of navigation through your web design. As elements move and fit around each other, this creates more options than simply using static links. The dropdown menu is a very basic example of this.
Animations can also draw attention to specific areas of a website, which helps to encourage clicks on certain links or just to ensure that things like branding get noticed. There are many more good reasons to use animations in web design, but these are the most basic.
When Animations Don’t Work
But animations are not perfect for every type of web design, nor for every type of business. For one, animations can be deemed as unnecessary. These tend to slow down navigation and even if they serve a purpose, your navigation will likely be more efficient without them. This gives the use of animation a somewhat ‘superfluous’ feel that might seem decorative or just generally unnecessary. While that might not matter and may even be fun for a design website, it can have the adverse effect for a B2B site in a more ‘serious’ industry.
Another problem is that animations can end up cluttering a website. If you have a lot of graphical elements on your page and these include animations, then it can end up being a bit difficult for your visitors to know where to look. In web design and design in general, less is often more and there’s a reason that minimalism is so popular.
Finally, if an animation relies on Flash or other elements, then it can end up creating compatibility issues for your website and thus restricting the visitors who can view your site. While an animation might add to your design then, it’s important to first ask yourself whether you’re using it for the right reasons. And if you’re unsure: ask your web designers.