Introduction: The Importance of Animation in Today’s Digital World
In today’s burgeoning digital environment, where discerning consumers make instant decisions based on what they see and feel, animations are becoming the indispensable tools of the trade. People instinctively have a personal association with movement: it catches their eye and keeps their attention in the first moments of online engagement. Even small bits of animation can bring static imagery to life, and movement has become a key component of design thinking – something that is top of mind for every UX designer, software developer and marketer to differentiate their brand and business.
Overcoming Common Animation Challenges
While the idea of incorporating animation into apps and website design is compelling, the inherent complexities of the typical animation process present several key challenges. It takes time to develop animations from scratch; they often tend to be code-heavy and take a lot of app space; and animation files are usually developed in a wide range of languages and formats. That’s what animation platforms like LottieFiles are all about: leveraging the power of a massive design community to simplify animation development, proficiency and rollout. It’s a highly competitive market out there for sure, so if you want to make the most of design resources like animations, you need to use your time and resources wisely.
Following are three keys to incorporating animation into your apps and websites to excel in this dynamic environment.
1. Make the Process Fast, Easy and Lightweight
Speed is everything when it comes to design and development. You want your designs to look and ‘feel’ great, but you must be able to optimize the time it takes to get the job done. Core animation files should be fundamentally lightweight and easy to work with: simple to acquire, quick to enhance and modify, and easy to test and deploy.
A Lottie, for example, is a lightweight JSON-based animation file format that enables designers to build and roll out animations on any platform as easily as they do static assets. They are small files (600 percent smaller than GIFs and 10 times faster to ship) that work on any device and can scale up or down without pixelation. Because they’re so small, they significantly increase download speed and reduce the amount of disk space utilized.
In the LottieFiles community, great animations are already created and displayed in a curated library of free (as well as paid) assets. Simply browse categories or enter search criteria to narrow down to what you’re looking for. Once you download, it’s a simple task to change color layers for a new look and make further edits to the file, all without using code. No code means a shorter learning curve for designers and developers, and the flexibility to customize messaging and tailor to fit your exact design requirements.
2. Be Sure It’s Interoperable and Collaborative
From a process standpoint, no one wants to learn new programs or development languages to build animations, especially if you’re dealing with groups of designers, developers and marketers. The platform you’re working with should integrate seamlessly with the other common frameworks in your toolbelt. LottieFiles, for example, includes a number of built-in integrations that makes the process as easy as link, click and build:
- An AfterEffects (AE) plugin makes it easy to render, share and test animations in this most popular design program.
- Works with common platforms such as Synfig Studio, Adobe Animate, Haiku Animator, Inkscape, Flow, Keyshape and many others.
- Includes a Web Player to streamline how you embed animations into your website with just a few clicks.
- Create and export animated stickers for pervasive messaging program Telegram.
And importantly, when everyone on your team is able to utilize, test and edit animations using the same interoperable programs, it enhances their ability to collaborate more effectively, improve teamwork and idea sharing, and scale your efforts to build a constantly growing animation pipeline.
3. Empower Continuous Learning from a Vast Design Community
Design is a continuous learning process for most. You learn as your career grows and you take on new projects, but you also take cues from other designers whose work delights your own sense of style and function. Platforms like LottieFiles are essentially giant user communities. Designers not only have a chance to download great pre-built animations, but they have the opportunity to learn tricks of the trade that are often hard to master on your own.
Designers and developers can see and learn the building blocks for creating fun and compelling animations, absorb the nuances of the design profession, and apply lessons learned to their own animations and UX projects. The Lottie community, in particular, also offers a wide range of tutorials that teach best practices for building animations that really pop. One recent session gave a use case-driven tutorial on the design principles of easing, anticipation, overlap and secondary action. It’s awesome to have a (free!) community to learn from in the design business. That alone is worth its weight in gold.
Conclusion: Everyone Has a Visual Story to Tell
There is a story everywhere to be told online, and it can be told in a more compelling fashion with animation. If a picture is worth a thousand words, an animation that sports dynamic movement is worth 10x that. Done the right way and with the support of the right community, platform and tools, animation empowers great storytelling and a more enjoyable digital experience.