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13 November 2018

How to Use Animation in Mobile Apps

How to Use Animation in Mobile Apps

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Looking for a way to notify users about what's going on in a mobile app and improve its overall UX? Look no further: animation used in mobile applications can do the trick for you. Introduce it to your app to add visual cues, and you will never regret it.

When it comes to mobile apps, animation is extremely helpful when UI changes are involved (e.g., when new content is loading). This gives your product a polished look and feel.

But be cautious about using animation in mobile apps — you can have too much of a good thing.

When is it appropriate to use animation in a mobile app? Read on this post to find it out.

Displaying a Hierarchy of UI Elements

Animation is frequently put to use to show motion that indicates how one UI element relates to another. In a nutshell, it reflects hierarchy — a relationship between parent and child elements on a mobile screen.

Navigation transitions are such motions. They take place when a user moves from one screen to another in an app.

mobile menu hierarchy

Source: Dribbble

Providing a User Status Update and Visual Feedback

When users are interacting with an app they expect some sort of feedback or update on the status of the action they've just made.

What would you choose while waiting for an app to load — a static image or an animated one? You would certainly opt for the second option.

Such a decision stems from our natural desire to get a visual response from the real world in order to understand what's happening at a specific moment. And the same desire is transferred to the digital world.

So utilize this tactic to provide users with timely feedback, or to update them on progress. For instance, identify an image upload process using an animated progress bar.

mobile animated buttons

Source: Dribbble

Serving Educational Purposes

Mobile UI animations can be a helpful guide for first-time or non-tech-savvy users. Employ them to offer suggestions or to indicate how to carry out in-app actions.

You can also make the onboarding process less painful by taking advantage of animation as a training tool.

Long (and let's be frank, boring) user guides often remain unused, aren’t they? But explaining app features through animation will work for sure. Why? Put simply, they are never boring. Animated motions not only educate but entertain viewers.

They also help to make a favorable first impression and potentially increase user involvement.

mobile UI animation

Source: Dribbble

Adding a Character to a Mobile App

Creating animations for mobile applications is also useful when you wish to add character and/or appeal to mobile interactions.

Taking into consideration the fact that thousands of apps are launched every year, such an approach will definitely grant you a competitive advantage.

Source: Dribbble

Product Demos

Creating animated product demos is what most app development companies do to exhibit product functionality, either to developers who will be working on it or to the customer. The coding for animations that have been used for a demo can be reused later on in an app if a tool where the demo was created supports code export.

mobile product demo

Source: Dribbble

Design Principles to Follow

When working on an animation, make sure you keep some fundamental principles in mind. They all are covered below.

Informational Value

A good animation serves as a means of providing some information, such as the elements hierarchy, available actions, etc.

Removal of Distractions

Motion is crucial for eliminating distractions. It helps a person to concentrate on what is really important.

Expressiveness

Motion can not only add character to in-app interactions and liven them up but it can also convey a personality of a brand and its style. This is essential when we speak about an app released by a company to offer its products and services to the audience.

Tools for Crafting Animation

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of solutions for creating animated interfaces on the market like HypeAtomic, and ProtoPie. You can opt for any of them. But first take a look at the proven tools with which you will certainly get what you need.

Adobe After Effects

This software is a perfect choice for mobile animations. It has an extensive toolset that enables the creation of great motion graphics with dynamic and expressive visual effects. Though AE may be difficult to use initially, there are numerous video tutorials on the web help you master it.

Integrating animations into a mobile product is quite easy — export them in a JSON file with Bodymovin and import them into your project with, for example, Lottie.

Principle

Though this solution is available to MacOS users only, it is raved about by the design community. It is also chosen by many world-famous brands such as Netflix, Facebook, and Google. This easy-to-use design tool is particularly suitable for layouts with screens that transition into each other.

This tool gives you the freedom of choice — it has no predefined transitions. Like experiments? Go on and create a custom interaction with Principle!

GsapTools

This tool is not directly linked with creating motion, but we still included it in this list, and here’s why: this solution is indispensable for debugging GSAP animations. Please note that it currently works with React.

Killer Design Examples

Are you still uncertain whether to add animations to your app? Check out the stunning examples we have prepared for you and all your doubts will disappear.

animated swipe

Source: Dribbble

progress bar animation

Source: Dribbble

micro animation

Source: Dribbble

back and forward animation

Source: Dribbble

loading screen animation mobile app

Source: Dribbble

mobile app login animation

Source: Dribbble

error message animation

Source: Dribbble

animated mobile interface

Source: Dribbble

mobile animation

Source: Behance

mobile animation

Source: Behance

banking app animation

Source: Dribbble

mobile dashboard animation

Source: Dribbble

sport app animation

Source: Dribbble

mobile app animation

Source: Dribbble

mobile app animation

Source: Dribbble

onboarding animation

Source: Dribbble

smart home app animation

Source: Dribbble

onboarding animation mobile

Source: Dribbble

mobile app animation

Source: Dribbble

mobile app animation

Source: Dribbble

Summing Up

Mobile apps and motion design should go hand in hand. Animations can improve navigation and interactions. They make UIs more interactive and entertaining.

Be careful when using them. Too many motions in a simple app may distract and even frustrate users. Before you start drawing and animating, think twice about when and where you will use animations. They are like a final flourish for your app. So put functionality first and you’ll succeed.

Want to learn more or have a question? Don’t hesitate even a second, contact the AGENTE team today!

 

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