Studies say that the average attention span of human beings is 8 seconds. Just 8 seconds! In almost a fraction of a minute the websites have to pique the users’ curiosity, encourage them to stay on the website and know the services being offered. In this little gap of 8 seconds, the users tend to spend time on the website only if the design is visually appealing and most importantly user-friendly. Same rule applies for the apps.
As human beings are more attracted towards visual effects, the designers have started using animation as a functional element to improve the overall user experience and make the most of those 8 seconds. Functional animation is different to typically perceived concept of animation.
Now the first step is to get acquainted with what exactly is ‘functional animation’ and then move towards as to how functional animation is beneficial for the UX design.

What is functional animation?

Animation brings those marvelous special stories to life. In the same manner, functional animation brings the design to life. Functional animation is taking animation to a different level far beyond its aesthetic value or being tagged as the trendy stuff found online. Such subtle animation is incorporated in the UX design providing apt functionalities to the user interface. It helps the browsing experience easier for the user, ultimately driving the customers to benefit the business.
Moving on to the next obvious question

How does functional animation benefit the user interface design?

  • Visual status update:

    Time spend while waiting for the webpage to load can be pretty boring and can make the users click the closing tab. To avoid the users losing interest, animated loading sequences can be used. Such visually appealing status updates help the users stay patiently for any upload or download.
  • Interactive navigational transition:

    With websites or apps with larger content and navigation from one page to another can be pretty confusing. To make the interface easier, functional animation comes to the rescue of the users in understanding where the page has come from. User easily understands the transition while navigating through the website or an app, ultimately enhancing the user experience.
  • Use of visual feedback:

    Visual feedback helps the users to know the end result of their action. For example, when a user chooses any item on a online shopping portal, automatically the shopping cart on the upper right corner of the interface gets updated showing the number of items in the cart. Thus, the user gets notified ‘visually’ of the outcome of the action. This feature of functional animation helps the user to interact with the design.
  • Creating the brand identity:

    Every brand has a unique concept behind its creation. This unique concept can make any business stand out from its competitors. Now when all the other roles of animation are about its functional aspect, branding animation inclines towards creating a bond with the user and the brand. Use of animation in telling the brand story can help any business create a fan base giving it an edge over others.
  • Providing visual indications:

    For users who are not comfortable or new to any user interface design, visual indications act as a guide helping them interact with the interface. This animation allows the users understand how to use the interface, thus avoiding their confusion.
A clear and easy to use interface is always welcomed by the masses. In addition to this, designer also has to limit the creativity at some point to avoid the users getting annoyed or merely confused of overcrowded animations. Well planned and subtle functional animations used wherever necessary can help users appreciate every moment spent browsing.
Conclusively, functional animation when in perfect proportion providing logical applications throughout the interface can do wonders to enhance the user experience by:
  • Improving the visual appeal and attracting more customers
  • Increasing the functionality of the design
  • Increasing user engagement
  • Creating a bond of trust between the user and the brand.
With functional animation, let the design do the talking!

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