July 7, 2019
You want your webpage to draw people’s attention in. From the moment someone clicks onto your site, you should control the flow their eyes follow as you guide them from one point to another, just like any other well put together sales pitch. There are a multitude of different ways you can accomplish this feat, whether it be the physical layout of your page, your usage of images, or our topic today, animations. Movement draws the viewer’s eye like nothing else, and using it effectively can prove to be a valuable tool in engaging your customer. Today, we’ll be going over some tips and tricks, as well as looking into a couple of techniques that we consider to be especially effective.
What Should My Animation Accomplish?
When you think of animation, it’s easy to quickly think in extremes and miss the point entirely. When we refer to an animated feature on a webpage, we aren’t referring to a gaudy little movie playing out on our screens. Generally, the animations we want to use in our websites are far subtler, and they should always accomplish a clear purpose. Used effectively, animations can clearly illustrate a conceptual idea to viewers, guide their attention to somewhere important, all while adding a bit of excitement. When adding anything to your website, be sure to keep your purpose in mind, and you’ll find yourself making smarter and smarter decisions across the board.
Illustrating a Conceptual Idea
Sometimes, your business provides a good or service that isn’t easy to describe in words. Along the same vein, your company may have a wide variety of services to offer, in which case you want to avoid overloading the viewer with paragraphs upon paragraphs describing what it is you do. In situations when the point you’re trying to make just feels like a mouthful, it can be important to remember an age old saying: a picture (or in this case animation) is worth a thousand words.
Showing your viewer exactly what you can do for them before they even have to read anything can build an immediate familiarity between customer and company. Imagine your company provides a landscaping business. Sure, you could write out in detail all of the aspects of lawncare that you offer to clients, but this could quickly become more of an essay than a homepage, and no customer wants to be bombarded with text like that during their first encounter with you. So, imagine that instead of all those words, you had a few animated sprites that showed a lawn being cared for, from hedge trimming to lawn mowing and everything in between. Suddenly, you’ve transformed the page from a boring reading assignment into an exciting collage that perfectly illustrates what your company is all about. Viewers will appreciate the visual interest it creates, and will understand everything you can do for them so much faster than through words. If you do opt for this route with your animation usage, we recommend making the animation the central focus of the page. Make sure the animation features your brand’s color and style, then insert your logo and name on the animation anywhere that allows for clear reading. Suddenly, your home page looks sophisticated, modern, and will certainly draw in more customers than before.
Guide A Viewer’s Eyes
An efficient webpage is built with the viewer’s gaze in mind. It proves extremely useful to create a sort-of roadmap of your page: chart out the route that you want your customer to follow that ensures they see all of the information that they need to. You may have all of the information written out in text, but now you have to be creative in ensuring that customers actually follow the proper route through the site to go from one important point to the next. Animations can be a great way to accomplish this, and at their most effective, can actually function as your navigation feature all on their own!
To understand how animation can function as navigation, let’s first imagine one of the most basic and common animations out there: drop down menus. Many people don’t even think of drop downs as animations, but they really are. An animation is any manipulation of an image or visual object that creates the illusion of movement, which is exactly what drop downs do, just in a rather unspectacular fashion. Despite the rudimentary design of drop downs, they remain one of the most important functional features on the internet, and they’re not going away anytime soon. But say you want to jazz up your navigations just a bit more than an old-fashioned text box. If that’s the case, a popular new web design style is actually the usage of animation to completely shift your webpage from one idea to the next. The inspiration here actually draws heavily from PowerPoint slideshows, and when done properly, these webpages can be just as effective. Basically, imagine that rather than having your information spread out across links in a menu, you had a button that, when clicked, would transition your webpage from one idea to the next. This transition shouldn’t be too over the top, but should definitely feature your brand’s colors and design aesthetics. Once the transition has finished, the webpage will feature entirely new information, new images, and perhaps a new layout. This form of transition is extremely useful because it simultaneously draws the viewer in and builds excitement, while also holding their hand as you lead them to the exact information you want them learning next. It’s tremendously practical, and is one of our favorite web design trends in recent years.
Both of these animation styles are effective because they serve multiple purposes for your website. They aren’t superfluous, they aren’t over-the-top, they’re simply tools at your disposal, and when used properly they can excite your viewers while teaching them important information or guiding them along your page clearly. As with any aspect of a webpage, try not to get too carried away with this, as it can be all too easy to throw in one animation too many and overwhelm your viewer. Additionally, animations like these can be rather daunting to users who lack the proper graphic design or web development training. If you feel yourself uncertain of how to utilize your animations, or how to even begin creating them, we here at DigiFox are always happy to lend a hand. Just reach out to us through any of our contact information and we can help you animate your site today.
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