In the early days of the web, animation was primarily used by novice developers as a last-ditch effort to call attention to important parts of a page. And even if they wanted animation to transcend its niche, it couldn’t: browsers (and computers) were simply too slow to deliver smooth web-based animation.
We’ve come a long way since the days of flashing banner ads, scrolling news tickers and Flash intro videos. Today, the stunning motion design of iOS and Android dramatically improves the user experience—instead of detracting from it. Developers of the best sites and apps leverage animation to improve the feel and intuitiveness of their
user interfaces. Animation’s rise to relevancy isn’t just a by-product of improved processing power; it reflects a better appreciation for best practices within the web development community. The tools you use to make a website are now considered less important than the quality of the resulting user experience. As obvious as this seems, it
wasn’t always the case.
So, what makes animation in particular so useful? Whether it’s transitioning between chunks of content, designing intricate loading sequences, or alerting the user what to do next, animation complements text and layout to reinforce your site’s intended behavior, personality, and visual sophistication. Does your content bounce into view in a friendly
way, or does it whip across the screen? This is the domain of motion design, and the decisions you make will establish the transcendent feeling of your app.
When users recommend your app to others, they’ll often try to describe it with words like “sleek” or “polished.” What they don’t realize is that they’re mostly referring to the motion design work that’s gone into the interface. This inability of the layman to make the distinction is precisely what great user interface (UI) designers strive for: animations that reinforce the interface’s objectives but don’t otherwise divert the user’s attention.
This book provides you with the foundation necessary to implement animation confidently and in a way that’s both technically maintainable and visually impactful. Throughout, it considers the balance between enriching a page with motion design and avoiding unnecessary flourishes.
Why is all of this so important? Why is it worth your time to perfect your transitions and easing combinations? For the same reason that designers spend hours perfecting their font and color combinations: refined products simply feel superior. They leave users whispering to themselves, “Wow, this is cool,” right before they turn to a friend and
exclaim, “You gotta see this!”
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