Let’s talk about how to use animation on your website to make it a more memorable experience for your users.
So before we dive into the animation side of things. I want to first discuss what makes an experience memorable. Now I’m sure there are loads of factors at play here but I’m going to focus on three. Action, novelty and emotion.
Action is all about when a person completes a desired action. It’s getting the task done in a simple effective way. We tend to remember completing an action more when we perceive the task to be challenging but it turns out to be much simpler than we thought, or the desire to complete that task is very strong. An experience that “just works” may seem a bit boring but people are likely to remember it and share it with others who are looking to complete that same task. This process occurs whenever someone asks you for a recommendation.
Next, we have Novelty. Something new, unique or unexpected. When something is novel we want to share this new experience with others - especially if it’s positive. And when it’s unexpected it tends to pique our interest and stick in our minds for longer instead of the mundane. These can be positive or negative experiences but for creating brand experiences we tend to want a positive surprise. There is obviously a time and place for novelty which is why lots of universal standards are created to make our lives easier. By using novelty incorrectly you can turn a positive experience into a negative, but still memorable, one.
And finally, Emotion. Spikes in either joy and happiness or fear and sadness. When a moment has a strong emotion attached we tend to remember it better. To the point where when we remember the moment, the feelings we had often come back to us. It’s important to remember the emotional state of the person before the moment, as this has a drastic effect on which emotion they feel during the experience. Everyone feels emotions differently and two people could have very different emotions during the same experience.
So now we know what makes a memorable experience, how can we use animation on our own websites to create one? It’s not just about picking one of these three. It’s about combining them all and creating many small memorable moments that form a larger, longer-lasting, memorable experience.
So how can we use animation to create little moments of action when using your website?
We can animate UI elements to provide feedback and add confidence to people's actions. This could be an animated progress bar to show that the website is working and the animations could show their task is being completed. Or a cheerful burst of colour when you click the “like” button. We also can use animation to lead the user through a process by highlighting key information or next steps. This could be an animated glow around a submit button that catches your eye once you have completed the required form fields or a walkthrough of a new dashboard.
Next, we want to create little moments of novelty through the use of animation. We can use new technologies like 3D and AR to create web elements that users may have never experienced before. This could be interactive animations like an element that shifts as you move the cursor or animations that happen on scroll. Anything to step as far away from a static webpage as possible.
And finally, we can use animation to create moments of emotion in our users. We can use elements like flashing alerts and countdown timers to create negative emotions. This could be a sale timer that sits as a bar across your site and an animation to catch your eye to add a sense of urgency. This might not sit well with your brand so be careful with using negative emotions to your advantage.
From a positive perspective, we have humour and joy. We can create these emotions by crafting fun animations that add life to a website. For example, animating characters that interact with web elements or a fun error page graphic to lighten the mood.
So that’s just a few ideas to get you started and hopefully something here sparks many more to allow your website to create a memorable experience that users can’t wait to share.
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