Animations in the user interface for mobile applications are a way to improve the usability for users, providing them with a memorable app experience. These lively additions are used to transition through the app’s navigational elements and tabs, allowing users to smoothly switch their attention from one aspect to the next. Animations make the content come to life and add personality and originality to the mobile app. They provide a connection between interface elements and a hierarchy between the different screens and pages.

Animations contribute to the overall look and feel of the app, showing direction and balance while also attracting the user’s attention to specific functions in the app without being too disruptive. They have the ability to convey information with style and restraint. When motion is well-designed, it keeps the audience focused, while if there are too many flashy animations cluttering the screen, it can become a distraction. It is important for the animations to be understandable and intuitive with the purpose of helping users accomplish their tasks and not distract them from the main content and features in the app.

There needs to be a purpose to the motion, giving users a sense of space, making the app experience and journey easy to follow. The mood of the animations can be a reflection of your business brand identity. What tone do you wish to convey to your users? If the animations don’t match the tone of your brand, users might end up feeling out of place. For instance, if you created a banking app, would your users trust it if there were too many bouncy and flashy animations? If, for example, your app is geared more towards children, then in that case bounce, splash and other playful effects may be better suited for that targeted audience.

Implementing the Proper Animations in your Mobile App

As we mentioned before, animations are there to show continuity in transitioning from one piece of content to the next, making good use of the space the user is already interacting with. Before we go further into detail about the different types of important animations that can be added in the user interface, it is important to remember that animations have to follow the different trends, recommendations and guidelines of design for the different existing operating systems and platforms like Android and iOS. These guidelines are there to make the app look and feel native. Now with these considerations in mind, let’s take a look at the best animations you can integrate into your mobile app.

Feedback Animation

Animations should provide instant feedback to users. They shouldn’t have to ask themselves, “did that button press do anything? Do I need to press it again?” Animated buttons, toggles and checkmarks give users the reassurance that their actions accomplished something, that a process was finalized or that they completed a task. This keeps the communication open between the app and the users.

Progress and Loading Animations

If users have to wait while performing a specific action, it is a good idea to let them know what is going on and the progress on what they are doing to give them assurance and confidence in your app. This can be done by using circular or linear indicators like progress bars, timelines and loading wheels. This turns the boring task of waiting into an entertaining experience, making the loading time appear shorter than it actually is with a pleasant distraction. People can get antsy and impatient waiting for something to be loaded or a new feature to be installed and so users need a reassurance that their actions were acknowledged and that it’s not a bug in the app causing a delay.

Transition Animation

Transition animations add style to the user interactions from one screen to the next, making the movement between screens feel connected to each other. These types of animations can even add to the illusion of having more space, making the layout feel lighter.

Animated Notifications

Animated notifications become more noticeable to users when slight pulses and brighter colours are added to the messages that pop up on their screens.

Animated Onboarding Screen

The onboarding process is where users first get familiar with the app. There is a risk that the users could abandon the app if they are confused or are unsure how to interact with it. Animated walkthroughs during an onboarding process can make the whole experience more engaging and entertaining for users, which in the end can increase retention and conversion rates.

Duration of Animations

Animations should be consistent so users are more comfortable interacting with the app. It can be confusing having a combination of sharp and slow motions and transitions between content. Abusing the use of animations will only clutter the screen. They should feel both lively and subtle with the movements happening naturally without distracting users from their app experience. Animations that are too long will make the users impatient and annoyed, while animations that move too quickly can be jarring, making the users feel uneasy and that the app is chaotic and rushed. There needs to be a happy medium where animations are timed in a way that is pleasant to the user experience.

Other Animations to Add in the User Interface

When you have compelling and creative animations in the user interface, it can trigger a customer to continue using your application. Below we have provided you with a list of a few more animations that can be adopted in the UI. We mention just a couple you might want to take into consideration, however, if you wish to consult a more extensive list you can check out this link.

  • Animations the liven up the sign-up and login screens
  • Smooth rotation and transition from portrait to landscape mode
  • Profile page animations
  • Lively and dynamic buttons (for downloading, saving and playing audio or video)
  • Interesting scrolling effects
  • Settings navigation animations
  • Map animations
  • Compelling introduction
  • Animated search bar
  • Responsive icons
  • Animated sound-on or off button

What has been your experience with animations? Let us know if there are any, in particular, you wish to mention! Be sure to check out our website or contact us for more on interface designs and animations if you ever need help adding motion to your own mobile app!

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