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Animations and Web Design

Why Rich Animations Are Crucial for Design shares the animation revolution.  Animations appeal to the Flintstone generation (Baby Boomers) and the Simpson tribe (millennials). However, it is easy to walk by why they are so crucial today. Mobile is why rich animations work so beautifully now.

Smartphones and networks ARE today’s desktop and tomorrow’s laptop computers. Finding content that looks great on small screens is crucial indeed. This Curagami post covers five ideas the authors of Why Rich Animations Are Crucial for Design didn’t explore including:

  • Animation Helps Tell HARD Stories
  • MAYA (Most Advanced Yet Acceptable) Makes Ideas STICKY especially with Animations
  • Not Falling off a Log Easy Yet But Creating Animations Is Easier
  • Appearance of Interactivity
  • Animation Works when English May Not

Animation Helps Tell Hard Stories

We noticed how animation helps tell hard stories idea watching Annie Leonard explain The Story of Stuff. Lecturing for nine minutes on how the iPhones the world loves are destroying the planet isn’t a good idea. When Annie uses animation, we listen, engage, and our rejection reflex stalls.

Not hard to see why. Trained on Flintstones (baby boomers) and Simpsons (millennials) animation is how we learn. Animation, as The Simpson creators know, can tell HARD stories in fun, seemingly interactive, and informative ways. “Seemingly interactive” because cartoons aren’t interactive they just feel that way as The Story of Stuff illustrates.

Animation is MAYA (Most Advanced Yet Acceptable)

Animations are sticky. Read the Heath brothers Made To Stick. Their book explains how anything too original is likely to be rejected. The shock of the new can kill your innovation. Better to cloak your shocking new thing in an old story. Is there a myth, fable or universally known analogy to explain your new widget?

Wait, don’t stop with Esop’s Fable. Wrap your analogy, myth or legend in an animation to lower resistance, increase engagement, and tell how your new thing is a good thing. Turns out a designer from the 1940’s, Raymond Loewy understood how to make new things acceptable and sticky. Press advancement to the limit of acceptability and do so with the blanket of a sticky fable, myth, or legend.

Animations Aren’t Easy Yet

Animations aren’t so easy to create or animation resource easy to find that they are everywhere. Two to three years from now animations will be everywhere. Jump the shark and invest in animations today for differentiation and a lead position. If you were late to the video game, don’t be late to animation.

Being late to two online trends can spell disaster. Better to be the lead sled dog. Out front, the view changes and is direction is within your control. In the back of the pack, the view is always the same, and you go where the crowd goes. Find tools such as Animatron to help you create and publish animations.

Appearance of Interactivity

The web, for all of its many advances, remains a static environment. Static in the same sense that a play’s set is “static”. We design environments and script interactions to create a sense of interactivity, a feeling we the creators of the site customers visit listen, are engaged, and present. Animations lower human defenses.

Human confrontation, fight or flight, and defensiveness reactions come down when a cartoon is “talking”. Again, it is not hard to see why (Flintstones and Simpsons). Saying attention, engagement, and listening increase as defensiveness, rejection, and our fear decrease is all prerequisites for “interactivity”. Deep down we know Fred Flinstone or Bart Simpson isn’t speaking directly to us, but it sure feels that way.

Animations Are A Global Language

As Joseph Campbell pointed out in A Hero With A Thousand Faces all cultures have similar myths, legends, and creation stories. Cartoons tap the universal. When Bugs Bunny shoots Elmer speaking Spanish, French or Swahili is moot. An animation is easier to understand if English isn’t your native language so animations are more global in reach.

Numbers are close to universal too, so animating your infographic-like pitch means broader and faster acceptance. If your website needs to reach other countries but you don’t want to invest in translations and code to read locations and show the right site invest in animations. Find ways to tell your stories in ways as universal as Bugs Bunny shooting Elmer.


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