4 UI Animation Examples That Showcase Effective Individual Components

When UI components don’t offer a visible change in response to a tap or click, users don’t always know whether the website or app is working. Think of an animated user interface that shows the progress of a file download. This basic example helps illustrate the importance of UI animations. You can, however, get much more creative to give users fun, useful interactions.

A great animated user interface can accomplish several goals, such as:

  • Holding the user’s attention.
  • Giving the user progress updates.
  • Making designs feel more personal.
  • Creating a sense of accomplishment or finality.

Draw inspiration from the following four UI examples that showcase effective individual components. They will bring your designs to life and get you to start thinking more creatively about the possibilities of motion in UI design.

1. An Ecommerce UI Animation That Gives Users Control

Dannniel who is a freelance UI designer uses animations to give users a sense of control while shopping online. In an animation UI design concept for a shoe-seller, Dannniel created an interface where users can learn basic information about a shoe (such as price and reviews). When shoes interest a shopper, the person can drag open a new window that lets them choose size and color preferences.

Why Does This UI Animation Matter?

Even the most successful e-commerce sites struggle to make shopping fun. Zappos.com, one of the world’s biggest ecommerce sites for shoes, has cluttered page designs that don’t always make options obvious. You can click on a lot of pictures to get different views of a shoe. Or, you can also use dropdown menus to see your color and size options.

None of it creates a sense of control or fulfillment. On Zappos, choosing a different color forces the page to reload and display your color preference. Changing the shoe size doesn’t affect the UI at all.

With Dannniel’s UI animations, the colors change seamlessly within the page. When you scroll through the available sizes, the shoe changes size on the screen. Tiny details like this can have a huge impact on the emotional fulfillment that users experience.

2. A Budget App Built on Colorful Intuition

The design agency tubik has made hundreds of animated user interfaces for their clients. The company’s budgeting app, however, stands out for how well it uses motion and color to help people set financial goals.

When users open the interface, they can see daily, weekly, and monthly expenses expressed in a segmented circle graph. Each segment has a unique color, so users can select the expense they want easily. The screen comes to life when users press a segment. The colors whirl around the screen to form a horizontal bar chart that offers a different way of understanding the budget.

Why Does This UI Animation Matter?

The vast majority of people say that budgets are important, but only one out of three Americans say that they actually follow their own budgets. It’s easy to understand why so many people avoid budgeting. It feels uncomfortable to confront financial decisions, especially when you might need to cut spending to focus on saving money or repaying debts.

UI animation in tubik’s app makes budgeting easier in at least two ways. Let’s take a look at each:

First, it gives budgeting a playful feel. The colors don’t move like they’re creating graphs about money. They look like the reward you get for completing levels in a video game. The colors and motion help ease anxiety by building a connection between an unwanted activity (budgeting) and something fun (video games).

Second, giving users multiple ways of viewing their budgets helps the app appeal to a wider range of people. Some consumers like seeing plain numbers without any frills. Other people find it hard to conceptualize what numbers mean. When they think about budgeting a few thousand dollars each month, the numbers feel very fuzzy and unreal. Offering a variety of graph options makes it easier for the app to conform to each person’s learning preference.

3. Animation UI Makes Failures Less Frustrating

A precisely animated component can really make the lives of your users easier. Take the way Google Translate works – even if you make an accidental typo, Google will show you an animated dropdown with the list of suggested words that you probably had in mind to type in. Frustration of having to retype it over again is gone.

When a download fails, though, the UI adds a little humor to the situation. Instead of plainly saying, “Your file failed to download,” the text bubble tips over on its side and spills the progress bar to the bottom of the page. It adds whimsy and creativity in a way that static images cannot.

Why Does This UI Animation Matter?

No one likes it when a product fails. Unfortunately, mistakes happen. Perhaps you lose your internet connection while downloading a video. Maybe you want to play a game that isn’t compatible with your device.

Animation UI can’t always stop failures, but it can make them less frustrating. Instead of simply dropping your video halfway through the download or letting a game crash your operating system, animation UI can deliver amusing messages that distract you from the failure.

Similarly, UI designers should consider how web accessibility will impact potential users. Are there alternatives for people with hearing impairments, low vision, color blindness, and other struggles? Adding them can make designs appealing to users who often get left out of the conversation.

4. UI Animations Make Maps More Useful and Meaningful

UI designer and developer Alexandru Stoica makes maps more useful with simple UI animations. One of his map apps shows how far the average person can walk within a certain amount of time. The circular map has a spotlight that shows the walking distance with the amount of time it will take to cover that distance. Enlarging the spotlight expands the distance and amount of time so users can decide whether they want to walk somewhere or schedule a rideshare.

Why Does This UI Animation Matter?

The UI element appeals to the user’s visual understanding of distance. This makes the map much more effective as a tool to gauge walking length and time. It makes this kind of map distinct from others that appeal to drivers or public transit users. 

UI animation gives users one more tool to make maps easier to understand. In this instance, they can use an intuitive tool to decide whether they want to walk or get a ride. As a stand-alone product, the map won’t blow anyone’s mind. When you think of it as one feature among many, you can see how several types of UI animations can work together to make maps more meaningful.

5. Make Your Own Animated UI Elements

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