Motion design is no longer restricted to aesthetics. Today, it’s changing how users interact with brands and digital products by making user interactions more streamlined and intuitive. Companies are extremely focused on storytelling, and they’re aiming to tell better narratives about themselves. This focus on messaging and an experience-focused user make motion design an essential part of modern UI.
“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. Designer and developer Chris Converse said that “Animation continues to play an integral role in both enhancing user experiences, as well as adding a powerful option for visual storytelling. As interface and user-experience design continue to command more of a designer’s time, the need to take more control over animating, or mocking-up transitions for interface design, will increase as well.”
When used appropriately, motion design 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.
Creating visual cues
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. 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 UI 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.”
Providing “seamless” transitions
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.
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.” 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 user-friendly UI. Just be sure that your animations are purposeful and subtle enough to provide the user with an awesome experience.