Recently I was asked to give feedback on an iOS app design project. While going through the prototype with a critical eye, something was bothering me but couldn't put my finger on it straight away. I took a moment to figure it out and then it hit me. Too many animations, often with no purpose.
There are quite a few articles on animations out there, proclaiming how crucial they are in interaction design. And yet I find most of the literature on how and when to use them lacking.
In an interconnected, digital world, where everything - from phone notifications, to flashing digital billboards - screams for attention, adding more attention grabbing elements can be counter productive, or even out right negative.
Animations should be used with consideration in order to have the appropriate impact and desired outcome, and always have purpose. If you can't communicate the immediate benefit of animating something, or the problem that animation solves, then most probably it should not be animated.
Think of a screen with 10 interactive elements on it, where some are more important than the others. Now ask yourself which would be more impactful, having all the elements animated or just the most important ones and in a way that conveys meaning?