Animation Principles for Enhancing UX

With new tools like CSS Animation, JavaScript Libraries and modern browsers, we can easily add animation to our websites. Animation helps you to provide context, give feedback, convey status and delight your users. You can affect color, location, scale, shape, focus and opacity of objects. By learning the principles of animation, you can create deliberate animation that improves the user experience.

Photo by Aline Ponce from Pixabay

12 Principles of Animation

Disney animators, Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas, first introduced the 12 Principles of Animation in their book, The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation. They examine the process of animation from Disney’s leading animations and provide you with 12 basic animation principles.

What do the 12 principles provide?

  • Realism
  • Context
  • Causality
  • Focus
  • Delight

They also help to create hierarchy and relationships between objects. These principles help you to provide feedback to the user, indicate status and give instructions. One of the first uses of animation on computer screens was the flashing cursor. It tells you that you can start typing and that the computer is working and not frozen. This simple animation conveys information faster than words can.

How to Use Animation Responsibly

When you are deciding to add animation to your user interface, consider the following:

  • Does it add value?
  • Are your behaviors consistent?
  • Is the user interface still functional without it?
  • Is the animation optimized?
  • Do you need it?

Using Animation to Enhance User Experience

At WordCamp Atlanta 2019, Michelle Schulp gave a talk Squash and Stretch and Good UX- Using Animation To Enhance User Experience. She gave a quick overview of the 12 Principles of Animation. Michelle explains the uses of animation and how to use animation responsibly.

More resources on animation

Become a better designer with design challenges

Design is about solving problems not making it look pretty. You want your designs to work. They should be easy to understand and use. How do you get better at design? By doing. It can be hard to come up with ideas to design. You can practice with design challenges.

Become a better designer with design challenges
Photo by Sarah Pflug from Burst

Why do design challenges?

Challenges help you get better at solving problems. They help you to explore new ideas, understand how other designers approach problems and improve your UX skills. You may create a solution that you want to use as a case study in your portfolio.

Here are four different websites where you can find a challenge to tackle:

1. Can’t Unsee: UX Design Game

Can't Unsee Ux Game
Ready to test your UX design skills? You can test your skills with Alex Kotliarskyi’s Can’t Unsee. It is a game that tests your UI design skills and attention to details. With three levels, you can challenge your skills in interface design.

2. UX Challenges

UX Challenge Co Website
Practice solving problems with UX Challenges. These challenges ask you to solve real world problems. You may want to use your solution to a problem as a case study for your portfolio or practice for a design interview.

3. Daily UI

Daily UI Challenges website
Want to become a better designer? You can sign up for a series of design challenges, inspirations and more. Use these daily challenges to learn and improve your design skills.

4. Designercize

Designercize
Designercize randomly gives you a design problem. You can pick the problem that you want to focus on, choose a time to complete it in and click on play. When the time is done, you should have a completed design.

Need more challenges? Try 100 UX problems from Jon Crabb on UX Collective. Or if you write code, you can consider these coding challenges.

How to plan a project?

Projects can be large or small. They can be finished in 24 hours or take months even years to complete. Whether you are working on a project for yourself or a client, you need to create a plan. Your plan can be as simple or detailed as you need it to be. A simple coding plan covers things like what I am going to make, tools I need, steps needed to complete project, sketch out your designs, plan your code and schedule time to work on it.

How To Plan a Project
Photo by Emma Matthews on Unsplash

Decide what to make

The best projects fall somewhere between things that you enjoy doing and things that allow you to learn marketable skills. If you are working on a side project or a hobby, you want to make certain that it has these elements. When you work on client projects, you may not get a project that has both. All projects can provide you with the opportunity to learn something.

Coming up with ideas for personal or side projects can be hard. By keeping a project notebook as Amie Chen does, you’ll have plenty of ideas to choose from. You can also ask your friends what problems they are having or try one of these ideas.

Pick the tools you want to use

Whether you are going to use a new framework or sketching tool, you should make sure that you have everything that you’ll need. Need new software? Install it. Photos? Download or purchase them. Make sure you have what you so you can set up your space for working on your project right away.

Plan the steps to complete your project

When you are first starting a project, it is easy to get excited about it and want to start building right away. Don’t. Plan out your project. Use a process called backwards planning. Start with your end goal. Ask yourself what you want to accomplish and write down clear steps and milestones that you need to achieve this goal. It doesn’t have to be perfect, you can revise as needed later.

What about extra things that you didn’t plan for? You may discover that you need a few extra things. if you are using an API, you may need to sign up for a developer key. Add them to your plan as you learn about them so you don’t forget to do it.

Design

Design is more than making it look pretty. It can be helpful to sketch out your designs before building an app. By sketching it out, you can decide what features to include, how people will use it and how it looks.

Plan your code

Start small. Think about the steps that the user needs to do in order to accomplish something. Break your code down into functions. By breaking it down, you make it easier to write your code.

Schedule time to build it

Look at your schedule and plan time to work on this project. You may need to stop doing less important things like watching TV.

Using SVGs in Your Web Projects

Are you using SVGs in your web projects? Scalable vector graphics can be used as background patterns, icons, logos and illustrations. They look nice and sharp at all screen resolutions. SVGs can have a small file size which helps you to keep your website size smaller and work better.

Using Svgs in your web projects
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

How do I get started?

It depends. Are you planning on creating your own or using pre-made SVGs? If you want to create your own, check out SVG on the Web. It is a practical guide for creating and manipulating scalable vector graphics. CSS-Tricks walks you through creating a simple SVG and manipulating it using CSS in Using SVG.

Where can I get SVGs to use?

  • SVG For Backgrounds lets you customize and apply a selection of backgrounds.
  • HeroPatterns has a collection of svg background patterns that you can customize for your web projects.
  • HeroIcons creates scalable vector graphic icons that you can customize with CSS.

Add Animation to Your Scalable Vector Graphics

People react and respond to movement. You can animate svgs to draw attention to a specific area. Animate your graphics with CSS or JavaScript.

You can start with the basics and learn how to use CSS to animate your graphics.

Or you can use SVGator, an online tool, that helps you animate scalable vector graphics.

If you prefer JavaScript, you can use Snap.svg, a JavaScript library, for animating your vector graphics.

How do you choose the right font?

Fonts come in all kinds of styles. With so many to choose from, it can be hard for a developer to know where to start. Your brand and voice are identifiable by your colors, photos, other design elements as well as the fonts that you choose.

How do you choose the right font?
Photo by Florian Pircher from Pixabay

Use these following tips to help select that fonts that enhance your design.

1. What type of personality matches your brand’s tone?

Are you Traditional, Reliable or Respectable? If so, you want to choose traditional fonts like Butler, Georgia or Times New Roman.

How about Contemporary, Modern or Progressive? Try modern fonts like Simplifica, Raleway or Prime.

Or are you Strong, Bold or Stable? Strong fonts like Glamour, Code or Nexa might work for you.

Maybe you want to convey Elegance, Vintage or Romance. Try handwritten script fonts like Allura, Sofia or Pinyon Script.

If those don’t fit you, you may need a more custom or unique font. Stylish fonts like Butch or Moon may work for you.

2. Is the font easy to read?

Do you have to concentrate to read the words? If you are getting exhausted trying to reading the font, then your customers will too. You want them to be able to read without any effort.

3. Does it look good in different situations?

You want to choose a font that looks no matter what you do to it. When you bold or italicized it. It should be easy to read when large and small. Some fonts look better on top of photos. Your brand colors can affect how readable the font is.

4. Do the fonts look good together?

After you have chosen the type of fonts that convey your personality, you want to pair fonts that compliment each other. You’ll need to decide how your headlines, content and calls to action will look like. Pairing fonts can be challenging. You can learn the basics for choosing fonts that fit your personality.

You can use these additional resources for pairing fonts:

Where can I get fonts?