Motion Design - Part 1: Improving your customer experience in meaningful ways.
- Geplaatst op maandag 13 juni 2022
- Leestijd 4 minuten
Animations in User interface (UI) design were previously an afterthought. It is now becoming an essential part of creating better customer experiences when applied subtly. When designing a product, it’s not just about how something looks and feels. It is about how something works. Thoughtful use of motion design can truly take your experience to the next level.
I’m a UX designer myself, and it’s my role to be the voice of the end-user. In my role, it’s crucial to understand our users, to know how they think, and to understand what motivates them. We do this to determine how we can facilitate the users on their journey with our products to accomplish their goals. Our users have many points of interaction with our products during their journey. Clever use of animations can play a powerful role in facilitating this journey. With Motion Design, we can level up the customer experience by creating dynamic designs and letting them interact with our software products more intuitively.
In the first part of this blog, we are going to have a look at what motion design is, why we need it and how it should be applied in a thoughtful way. In the second part, we are going to have a look at how motion in UI can be put into practice and what tools are available to leverage this from a design and development perspective.
What is Motion Design?
First things first, let us have a look at what Motion Design is. Motion Design is the discipline that adds visual transitions and animations to a User Interface. It transforms the static canvas of an interface into one that is dynamic. Mind you, it is doing a lot more than decorating. It is a functional element that gives feedback to a user’s action and helps them better understand the app’s hierarchy and flow of information.
When applied thoughtfully, it makes using technology feel natural, responsive, and more enjoyable. Good Motion Design can make your digital product stand out from the competition.
The importance of Motion Design in digital products
When customers navigate through the journeys we’ve created, it’s all about telling stories with our products. Motion creates a more natural experience by adding a level of depth to the interaction design. It’s an element of the UI that brings digital products to life.
Often, motion in UI is only seen as a cherry on top, something that is just nice to have. I tend to disagree. Motion used in a subtle way can help users to build mental models about how the system works and how they interact with it. Animations can be leveraged for usability, and they can give cues about what is currently happening with the application. A good example is the loading screen when opening the Facebook app. For a moment, a grey skeleton of the interface is pulsing on the screen to indicate to the user that content is being fetched in the background. Motion can also signify how elements on the screen will behave and it creates easily understandable spatial metaphors for the user’s location in the information space.
Applying motion design in a thoughtful way
UX designers have the responsibility to create satisfying and compelling experiences for the users of a product. Therefore, we also must take some of the drawbacks of using motion into account. Because motion can, and always will, attracts the user’s attention.
Biologically, our peripheral vision is responsible for detecting movement. The fact that we can detect motion outside our center field of vision is, of course, an advantage. But this is also why motion in the user interface can easily become annoying because it is hard to ignore. And if irrelevant, it does not improve but rather decreases the usability of a product. Anyone who has encountered heavily animated web advertisements knows that irrelevant motion can be quite annoying and distracting.
Therefore, animations must be carefully thought out and used in modest ways to guide the user on their journey. If used correctly, it can truly transform a customer experience and take it to the next level to help make a UI expressive and easy to use.
When motion in UI design is used in the right way, it is a very powerful tool that can truly transform the customer experience to the next level. It not only makes a product more usable but also more appealing. However, do not animate just for the sake of animation. Animations should always serve a purpose and never degrade the usability of a product.
Motion Design is becoming more and more important and is already becoming an essential part of creating better customer experiences. The future of Motion Design is now. In the next part, we are going to discuss in what ways we can put Motion Design into practice and what tools are available from a design and development perspective to leverage your experience to the next level.
Are you ready to improve your customer experience in meaningful ways with Motion Design? Do not hesitate to get in touch!