Implementing Purposeful Animations to Enhance User Experience


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Improving the user experience is about seeking the ease and convenience of the end user in completing a required action. The online users need to find highly relevant content in the design of a website or app that fulfills their requirements. Working on enhancing the user experience is an ongoing job and one needs a continuous struggle of understanding user behavior and devising ways to address their convenience in the design and visuals.

Visuals are among the powerful tools for attracting users’ attention. It can be an appealing image, a useful infographic or a purposeful animation. An animation is a creative moving visual that aims to make an app or website attractive. The artists would like to create animations for amusement and entertainment only. It may have a hidden meaning, but in general, it has no purpose.

The online store and applications need to achieve a corporate purpose and not to entertain the users. So, they need to implement functional animations that are backed with a logical purpose. Every business is initiated to meet certain goals so they have to achieve a balance in user experience design. They need a design that is based on purposeful animations that are appealing too.

The need to implement purposeful animations

In web and application designing, animations are developed to achieve a purpose. It can be about using a product, a signing up procedure, giving a visual hint, system’s action, or anything else. An animation that is followed by a valid logic and a purpose justifies its existence in a design. If a designer purposes an animation for appealing the eyes of a user without adding a purpose, it may become annoying for the target audience.

Visual Feedback

An improved user experience seeks the ultimate comfort in a design. With the help of animations, you can provide them visual feedback when they hover an option. With a visual feedback, they can get to know about a tab before clicking it. For example, a website that has multiple tabs for showcasing products related to different eCommerce platforms. A user may want to know about the products within a tab, but reluctant to leave the home page. He or she can view all the products at a glance by simply moving the mouse cursor on a required tab.

In the image below, a user finds a complete list of the plugins by just hovering the WooCommerce tab. The purpose behind this design is to ease the potential customers in getting an overview of the extensions with respect to categories and select the one they need the most.

Image source: FMEAddons

Visual feedback is a powerful tool for allowing the users to understand different aspects of your website or mobile application. The purpose may vary between designs, but the ultimate goal is to facilitate the users.

Giveaway visual hints

Your business website may be getting a lot of unique visitors. To help them find the most out of your website, you need to give away visual hints. For example, display the product gallery in a way that highlights a core image and hints back to the collection of relevant images. Such an animation informs the users that there are more images to view. The same can be implemented in products, categories, and blog posts. The purpose behind such a visual would be to provide a hassle free browsing experience to the end users.
A visual hint informs the users how a feature of a website or application works. So, you can hint them in an appealing animation. It helps you achieve a purpose without struggling a lot with it.

Make the system status visible

Informing the users about system status is among one of the golden rules in designing an astounding user experience. It is better to let them know what’s going on in the back office rather than keeping them guessing the situation.

An eCommerce store can turn the annoying wait of product load time in mesmerizing animations. You can create an animation that displays the system status to compel the visitors to stay rather than leaving the store in disappointment.

web design wheel
Image source: Webdesginwheel

Navigational Effects

Add navigational effects to communicate different states of your application in a go. For example, implement navigational effects to show the transition from the category view to product details. In most of the eCommerce websites, there is a huge difference between a high-level view and a details page. So, to create a relation between them, purposeful animation becomes mandatory.

The implementation of navigational transitions helps users to understand the screen change and follow the hierarchy. The transition can be from a parent category to sibling and landing pages. So, a user comes to know how to go back to a required screen or web page.

Zoom in the list items

The zoom-in tool is an enhanced version of the navigational effects. It can be used for a list of items so that a user clicks an item, have a zoom-in view and go back to the list. The online stores find it beneficial to allow the users to add products to cart, go back to the category, selects more products, and checkout once the selection is over.
By zooming in a product, a user can take the time to view the product in detail. This enhances the shopping experience as a user can dig deep for a record number of products without worrying about losing the watch list. You might have experienced the use of a zoom-in feature in viewing design templates and product images.

Animations are powerful visuals which have the ability to grab users’ attention at a glance. A user, either familiar or new to your website, wants to avail a sophisticated mechanism of using an online store or web application. A difficulty in browsing a page or using a feature may restrict them to being a visitor, thus restricting them to place an order. Use the purposeful animation that is designed and tested to reduce the stress a consumer takes in understanding the structure of your website.

The decision of having an animation start by evaluating the problems a user faces in doing various actions. On the basis of that problem, you can devise a purpose of creating a functional animation that best utilizes the identified problem areas.

Paul Simmons
Paul Simmons is an eCommerce web designer works for a well know company in USA named "FMEAddons", a company offers free and premium extensions for Magento, WordPress, OpenCart, WooCommerce, and Joomla.


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