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Struggling to be Noticed: Mobile Animations

Movement – we move all day, every day in almost every moment of our lives. Whether we’re walking to get another cup of coffee, furiously typing up another long email, running for exercise or to catch the bus, we all move.  Our eyes are trained to track movement with critical attention.  These days, much of our attention is devoted to connecting with our smart phones, staring at the texts, apps and images that fly across our screen. When it comes to mobile applications, designers and developers focus on the way an app moves to grab our attention, to make us feel and enhance our experience.

Motion and animation in mobile apps are extremely important when looking to create lasting experiences and special moments with users. In my most recent experience in designing mobile apps the animations and motion interactions seemed to be viewed more as an afterthought, when instead they should be viewed as the final polish to the perfect app. Animation and motion interactions should be an integral part of the design process and explored during the early stages. These elements are key to the user’s experience. Every tap, swipe, pinch and rotation create an unexpected enjoyment in using the application. It’s these types of experiences that invite the user to share the app with friends, resulting in increased word of mouth and sharing of your app.  Animation provides the high level of polish that designers should drive to deliver when creating any type of app.

While animations and interactions are a key component to the app experience, they do not need to be over-the-top. They can be subtle and fun, creating exploratory rewards for users. In fact, it wasn’t until recently that apps started taking advantage of mobile animation with the newer OS versions for mobile platforms. Apple and Android are pushing the envelope further and further by making it easier for developers and designers to start using these animations and interactions in their apps from the ground up.  Sites such as Material Design by Google and Apple offer entire sections of their design guidelines dedicated to animation.  They realize that taking animation to the next level adds that desirability that all users want in their apps and will keep them coming back for more.

Making motion a critical part of your design process will produce a much more rewarding app experience. However, finding creative ideas to make your app animate and interact with your user can be a challenge.  Inspiration can be found from exploring apps you already have or by checking out curated sites of mobile interactions such as capptivate.co, userflowpatterns.com and Dribbble.com.  These types of available resources can help drive your creativity and in-app experiences, pushing the overall user experience of your app to new levels. 

Images are a selection of mobile design interactions by Ramotion – Digital Design Agency, for Behance.

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About The Author

Senior UX Designer
Mike is a Senior UX Designer and Team Lead in the Cincinnati Office at Cardinal Solutions Group. His passion and experience in ux design, ui design, front end development, and client interaction allow him to provide industry leading solutions across every engagement.