Animation’s primary task is to explain the logic of the application to the user. That is why animations play such an important role in mobile app design. To optimize the use of animations, you need to determine their place and function within your application. Let’s find out what types of animation exist.

Animation in Applications

Top UX designers typically use these types of animations for user interaction, and they can be combined or used separately.

1. Visual Feedback

Visual feedback is the basis of animation in the design of UI and UX and shows the user that the application is responding to its actions. Remember any button devices. For example, remote control from a TV. When we press the buttons for switching TV channels, we see how the program changes on the screen and we understand that everything is working properly. This is the case with everything else. We subconsciously expect to receive a reaction from any object in relation to which we carry out any action.

When the button in the application is pressed and changes color or the picture moves in a given direction, the user receives visual feedback, sending the user a signal that the application is under control.

2. Navigation

Most often, the user is guided through the application using the menu with a list of the main sections or functions. However, many applications have a complex structure. In this case, the animation works as a visual landmark. That is, the user sees how the picture on the screen changes in the process of selecting and navigating through sections of the application. Thus, the animation is used to deliberately move the user around the application and helps to remember how to use the controls. In order to develop a system that guides the user in the most natural and seamless way, you have to collaborate with professionals.

3. Monitoring Application Status

Users want to keep abreast of the main processes in the application, such as downloading documents or images, sending messages, playing audio and video files, and others. Animation allows you to demonstrate the progress of the process and track the status of the application in real-time. This gives the user a sense of calm and control over the situation. A mobile application will be better perceived if each process is accompanied by a characteristic animation.

For example, a mail application may show the process of sending letters. This is clearly seen from the animation with changing numerical values:

Another example of application process animation is commonly known as “pull down to refresh” or “pull-down to update”. This technique is actively used in news applications so that the user always sees that their news feed is updated with new publications.

4. Function Change

Animation can be used to show the transformation of individual elements of the application. The user controls the application, which means that they constantly use various interface elements – from buttons and elements of the menu to photos, pictures, and graphs. Naturally, these elements can change their appearance, and sometimes their functions. So when you click on the picture, additional information appears. Adding animation helps to focus the user on ongoing changes.

5. Structuring Information

Animation helps to structure information in the application by visually reinforcing the hierarchy of elements. This happens as follows: the animation effect leads the user’s gaze and shows what content you should pay attention to now. Often this principle is most vividly implemented when you open the menu. However, it is especially well demonstrated by animation effects that emphasize the relationship between elements when moving the application around.

For example, on the main screen of the application, several elements are presented. As soon as we activate one of them, the application changes the picture and displays a whole section. Through animation, we see that we have the same application element, only in a more detailed format.

6. Application Guide

Some applications have a very complex structure. In order not to scare away subscribers, it is necessary to explain how everything works. Long texts and instructions only complicate the perception. The best solution, in this case, is animation. In just a few seconds, the user receives a short educational program on the use of the application. Typically, an animation application guide opens on the first launch. However, if necessary, users should always have access to it.

7. Hint

Using animated tooltips in the application helps teach the user how to use all elements of the application as intended. To do this, you can set visual accents. For example, you can highlight active elements in one color or set them in motion when touched.

Here, the active elements are highlighted in green and they are accompanied by a flash effect. With the help of such animated tricks, you can easily remember the principle of the application.

8. Custom Animation

Sometimes animation is created specifically for an application. If your app uses custom animations, make sure that users will remember it. First, a unique animation can be so attractive to the user that they will give preference to your application among other similar ones. Secondly, such an animation helps to remember the brand.

However, unique animations do not always benefit the application. If the animation is not perceived at an intuitive level but only catches the eye, then this can distract the user from the core functions.

A reasonable balance will help solve the problem. In other words, even custom animation can look unobtrusive if you use it in the form of nice additions. For example, you can animate the individual elements of an application: transition arrows, download elements, or menu list.

Summing Up

Application authors should remember, above all else, that animation must be functional. In other words, create animations for a specific purpose. Animation in entertainment apps is great but secondary. In fact, the animation in the UI design is used to facilitate the interaction of the user with the application interface.