How is Animation used in User Interface Design?

Written by Hemendra Singh on June 05, 2018 | Updated on: August 6, 2020

How is Animation used in User Interface Design?

For a long time now, animation has played a major role in determining whether the attention of users retains on a website or not. Initially, there was a lot of debate and negative outlook that encompassed the segment of animation. This was because of the fact that anything in motion gave the notion of a pop-up or advertisement.

Hence, the only reflexive action that would come out would be to close that page! However, that perception has of course changed over time. Animations are no longer looked upon that way and have become an integral part of providing UI design services.

How can Animation enhance the Experience of Users on an App?

Anything that is in a moving state or is in motion always engages a user more than how a normal graphic would. This is the main reason why mobile app developers indulge in animation, even though it is a bit tedious. Some other ways due to which animations are so important are:

Gives life to your interface

Even when a user is not performing any intricate task on an app, there are a lot of calculations and work taking place in the background. There might be some data downloading from the server, or something else.

Now, these processes take time and meanwhile, might give your app a frozen look. Which is why developers should use animation to show that there is some ongoing process happening. This sign of process would make the user feel like they are in charge of the app and they have the power of navigating around.

Make the waiting time interesting

No matter what, one thing that every user consistently hates is waiting. There are hardly any users who would have the patience to wait around while your web app is loading.

The problem here is, there is nothing you can do about the waiting time. What you can do is, use animation techniques to make that wait time interesting. Even though that would not reduce the time it takes for the page to load, it would at least keep the users attention on the web app.

Notify in an interactive way

By the name itself, notifications stand for demanding the attention of the users. What better of informing them about something important other than using the most interactive way!
Moving objects immediately grab attention, and you can then notify the users about whatever it was without making it annoying. Using a motion would attract the users,

animation notifications User Interface Design

Use animation to navigate users

How would the users know that they are moving from one location to another on a website or a web app? Rather than doing that in an abrupt manner, you can make use of animation to navigate them.

navigation animation User Interface Design

This navigation can take place in various ways:

  • Smooth transitions
  • Transporting from one location to another
  • Setting a visual hierarchy to describe a connection between elements
  • Designing a button whose functionality variates based on the situation
function change animations User Interface Design

The response in the form of visuals

For any user, getting some feedback in the form of visuals is more than just necessary. This response would be the element because of which the user would feel that they have the power on the app and not the other way around.

This can be done in many ways. For instance, the buttons would respond in a slight way when the user taps on it, acknowledging the move. At any point, using animation can enhance the interaction between a user and the app.

On an unconscious level, users notice the smallest details. Through visuals, you can show responses using animation and that would mean a better experience of the users.

Read More: UX vs UI – What is the Difference? | Infographic

What is Conceptual Animation?

Moving towards the next facet of animation is the conceptual animation. It is a kind of motion design that conveys a particular idea before converting it into actuality. In User Interface Design, conceptual designs can be present in animations like transitions, or other interactions.

The fact that conceptual animation is very different from the mainstream approaches is what makes it stand out and to an extent, controversial. Basically, Conceptual Animation is the trendsetter today.

Every developer today is looking for a unique concept to set themselves apart from the others. This technique of animation is different than the other styles and goes beyond all the tested ideas.

What is Conceptual Animation? User Interface Design

Some of the concepts in animation

Scrolling a list of items

This is the first feature in animation which basically determines the interaction of users with a list of items. There can be two variants, the first one where the list simply moves up or down respectively.
On the second one, there is a bit of a holdback after the user scrolls the list. This holdback gives more life to the animation and creates an idea that there is more space.

Scrolling animation user interface design

The transition from the list to item

In this feature, the user navigates from the list to a particular item upon selecting any one item. There are two variants in this case too. The first one is where the transition happens in the most basic way.
The second way, where more focus is given to the transition and that makes it more interactive.

transition animation User Interface Design

Opening side menu

The side menu is a very common feature that any app developer uses. Using conceptual animation in this menu makes the appearance more elegant; like using the technique of gradually flowing of items.


You can refer the following tutorials to get a better idea of how you can incorporate the dynamic concepts of animation in your app development (iOS and Android) user interface design projects.


The animation is a very elegant and powerful way to attract your users if used in a proper manner. It gives life to even the most basic elements and makes an interactive interface. However, if the animation is not used in a proper manner, it can backfire and drive the users away from your app.

While we are still used to the simple and flat shapes, the concept of animation is thriving towards building a better and creative interface. There are a lot of opportunities presenting themselves which require the attention of app development companies.

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