Web Animation Past, Present, and Future

Despite the rise and fall of Flash on the web, designing with animation has fiercely stirred us for decades. And yet nothing compares to its latest surge of evolution. Rachel Nabors lays out the array of tools and techniques that are fundamentally reframing our ideas about animation, and looks ahead to see where this path is taking us.

Motion with Meaning: Semantic Animation in Interface Design

Animation is fast becoming a mainstay of interface design, but one aspect of animation rarely gets discussed. Amin Al Hazwani and Tobias Bernard argue that adding animation to interfaces fundamentally changes them and necessitates a conceptual shift—an approach the authors call semantic animation. Individual screens shouldn’t be treated as separate entities if the transitions between them are animated; the entire experience is one continuous space.

Design, White Lies & Ethics

Most of us would say we’re honest in our designs—but what if tiny deviations from the truth made a design easier for users? What if usability testing showed that fibs in an interface actually helped users accomplish their goals? How can we keep design decisions from turning deceptive? Dan Turner shares the lessons learned from a recent design problem, and proposes a potential framework for working ethically with false affordances.

Object-Oriented UX

We know big, monolithic webpages won’t meet the needs of responsive sites and endless screens. But we’re often still quilting together design patterns and content modules, rather than truly thinking in systems. Sophia Voychehovski shows us how defining the objects our users interact with, and the relationships between them, opens doors to more interconnected—and successful—user experiences.

The Analog Revolution

Back in the day, when software was released (on physical media), it was considered done. In the present, some products could benefit from a limitation like that. To tie development to something immutable, such as a physical thing or a hard deadline, might just foster a sense of responsibility to design our product so it has what it takes to last a few years.

More Resources for Accessible Animations

Earlier this week, we learned about designing safe animations for those living with motion sensitivity. Today, Val Head shares additional resources for creating more accessible animations.

Designing Safer Web Animation For Motion Sensitivity

For millions of people with vertigo and inner ear problems, large-scale web animations can trigger nausea, migraines, and dizziness. To make websites accessible for everyone, we don’t need to eliminate animation; we need to apply it more thoughtfully. Val Head walks us through some of the challenges posed by vestibular disorders and provides guidelines for designing with motion sensitivity in mind.

Hello, My Name is <Error>

Registering for school, paying bills, updating government documents—we conduct a significant part of our daily lives through web forms. So when simply typing in your name breaks a form, well, user experience, we have a problem. As our population continues to diversify, we need designs that accommodate a broader range of naming conventions. Aimee Gonzalez shows how cultural assumptions affect what we build on the web—and how fostering awareness and refining our processes can start to change that.

Multimodal Perception: When Multitasking Works

Don’t believe everything you hear these days about multitasking—it’s not necessarily bad. In fact, humans have a knack for perception that engages multiple senses. Graham Herrli unpacks the theories around multimodal communication and suggests that we can sometimes make things easier to understand by making them more complex to perceive.

The Risky Business of Onboarding

Attracting—and keeping—new users is a delicate dance. Too many obstacles and people don’t sign up; too little interaction and they don’t come back. The ideal onboarding process turns potential users into loyal ones—by thoughtfully identifying new users, teaching them to use your product, and giving them a reason to return. Rick Pastoor shares his onboarding framework and what he’s learned about the difference between a good onboarding process and a great one.