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Bringing Interfaces to Life: The role of animation in UI and UX

Interfaces are everywhere. The user experience encompasses the overall experience a user has while interacting with a product or service. Animation, in the context of UI and UX design, involves adding motion to these visual elements to create a more engaging and intuitive user experience. Animation may serve a functional purpose by guiding users or providing feedback.

Think of motion as a design tool in your UX journey. It should help achieve the user’s goals or contribute in some way to enhance the experience. Animation shouldn’t be distracting or excessive. In other words, if it gets in the way of the user accomplishing a task or takes up more seconds for what should be a quick task, then it becomes unnecessary and annoying.

One common example of animation in UI design is the loading spinner. Instead of staring at a static screen while waiting for a page to load, a spinning animation lets users know that something is happening in the background. This simple animation helps manage user expectations and reduces frustration.

Introducing animations to the interface serves a psychological purpose as well. One aspect involves ensuring users remain informed throughout their interaction, minimizing ambiguity. Uncertainty can lead to user anxiety; for instance, if a page is loading without any interface feedback, incorporating a micro animation can be beneficial in providing reassurance. Although not all problems may need animations, adding them increases their appeal.

In recent years, several applications have pushed the boundaries of animation in UI and UX design. One notable example is the Duolingo app, which uses playful animations and interactive elements to make language learning fun and engaging. Interactive animations can gamify the user experience, making mundane tasks more engaging and Duolingo has used this to its advantage. Another example is the Headspace app, which employs calming animations and transitions to create a serene user experience. 

Let’s look at Duolingo’s application which embraces animation to engage the user’s attention. It keeps users hooked and gives them the comfort of gamification. This not only makes the information more visually appealing but also helps users quickly understand the current stage. It keeps the user hooked throughout the level with its cute animations.

Credits: Kim Lyons 

Additionally, captivating animations can also serve to promote and enhance the appeal of your product. 

Micro-animations extend beyond just the gamification of applications; they can also be leveraged to enrich the aesthetics and express the essence of your product. They contribute to making your website feel more alive and interactive, elevating the overall user experience.

UI/UX

In essence, animation in UI and UX design is not merely about adding visual flair, it’s about creating meaningful interactions that enhance user engagement and satisfaction. From improving usability to expressing brand identity and personality, animation has the potential to transform digital interfaces into dynamic and memorable experiences. Whether it’s guiding users through a process or providing feedback animation, it has the power to elevate the overall user experience. Next time you witness animation appreciate the magic that brings it to life, you might just be amazed by its impact.

About the Author: 

Shivani Shukla is a Senior UI & UX designer at Mantra Labs. It’s been a while since she started her journey as a designer. Updating her knowledge and staying up to date with the current trends has always been her priority.

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