How Can Scrolling Animations Enhance User Experience on a Website?
Staying on top of new trends in web design helps businesses stand out from the competition and engage users. Scrolling animations show designers are on the cutting edge of new technology and want to make the experience entertaining for site visitors.
As people navigate through the website, they go on a journey. Whatever goal a company has for potential clients, the site can guide them along the way with short clips. Here are some of the ways designers can utilize scrolling animations to create a strong connection between users and the brand.
1. Tell a Story
One way to tap into the power of scrolling animations is by using them to tell a story. Rather than using words alone, moving images add to the effect. Visuals often convey emotion better than text. People also tend to remember these shorts, as only some sites have them and they will be unique to each business.
WWF Canada utilizes scrolling animations to pull users into the problem facing the area and what people can do to take action. As one scrolls down the page, letters grow bigger or smaller, a playable video appears and info boxes drop in to grab attention.
Animations do not have to take over the entire page. They can still tell a story with some statistics and light movement that gets attention but does not distract the user from the site’s primary purpose.
2. Offer Users Feedback
Scrolling animations give users instant feedback that they are heading in the right direction. As they move through the site, arrows, fading elements and jumping bits can draw notice, and move them where the company wants them to go. It does not matter if the site scrolls up and down or left to right — animated elements still add visual appeal and make a website design stand out.
3. Improve Navigation
The navigation on most websites is pretty standard. People expect to see it near the top of the page. Categories should be limited to a handful to avoid confusion about the page’s goal.
Improving on the traditional structure is challenging. How do you create something even more appealing when people are so used to seeing menus a certain way? Scrolling animation helps point the way, and can even guide users to narrow down options and convert in the way the business wants them to.
inHub takes scrolling animations and ties them to specific calls to action (CTAs), guiding the user to join for free or learn more. As they move from the top of the page to the bottom, the animations point the way to a single goal in each section.
Note how the attention is on the images and each tells a story that matches the content in that particular section. Utilizing animations to move the user along and keep them engaged in this way enhances the overall experience, and adds to the text by showing an image that goes into even more detail than words alone can provide.
4. Use Unique Images
It might be tempting to use scrolling animations from a stock site. However, to make a stronger impression, images should be unique and highly relevant to the business. Fortunately, one can easily tap into tools to create animations unique to them and valuable to visitors. If a company does not have a full-time graphic designer or wants professional work, it can bring in a freelancer.
5. Create a Visual Hierarchy
Utilize animations to create visual hierarchy so users understand what information is most crucial on a page. For example, one might take headings and spin them into place, or give them a slight bounce. Arrows point the way to the next section or where users should move. CTA buttons can grow larger or smaller as the site visitor hovers over them.
The World Heart Federation (WHF) uses subtle animations to highlight where the user is on the page and what is most important. As one scrolls over the informational boxes, each one turns red and bumps up above the others the slightest bit to show the user’s location. Hover over any of the CTAs on the site and the color changes slightly to show the button is actionable.
At times, the site scrolls up and down, but then it will scroll side to side. If one wants an example of many different types of scrolling animations — including fade ins and outs — the WHF is an excellent example of various styles.
6. Add Interactive Design
Consider where the user should move and what happens as they do. If they click on something, what happens? How do the animations guide the way? Designers may want to enlist the help of testers to seek feedback on what works well and what needs adjusting to create the best experience possible.
Interactive design happens when the user takes an action and the site responds in some way. Add in elements such as things that move when the cursor hovers or them or slide-ins when clicking a button. Find ways to confirm action on the user’s part.
Should You Bother With Scrolling Animations?
Adding scrolling animations to a website takes time and intention. However, they become worth the effort when users feel more engaged with a site and stay on it longer. Take the time to run some A/B split tests and see if people convert at a higher rate with the animations. With a bit of data, it will be clearer if they are beneficial to a brand.
Eleanor Hecks is the editor of Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.
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