Assembling interactive icons.
Understanding Icon Animation

Icons are a key part of any form of communication. They do everything from identifying objects and ideas, to issuing commands and instructions. The advantage they have over words is in their near-universal understanding. They’re able to quickly and accurately deliver meaning or the intent of a product, while being far more visually pleasing to the eye.

Animation takes this idea and raises it to another level. The user experience is greatly enhanced by clear, captivating micro-interactions. This leads to increased appeal, and ultimately a higher conversion rate.

Being able to recognize this impact is why we’ve put together this brief on the pros, cons, and principles of animated icons. Whether you’re looking to improve your interface, a presentation, or your next social media post, we want to help you offer the best experience.

Principles
Inform

Animation makes your message more understandable.

Focus

Guide your users by using animation to draw their attention.

Accessibility

Enable all users to understand your product and message.

Feedback

Effortlessly communicate the system activity, status or results of an action.

Express

Convey emotion with animation, from celebration to adding personality.

Charm

Add polish or a sense of playfulness to your user experience with animations.

How animated symbols increase user experience
Communicate

Why animated icons are the best way to communicate your message.

Grab Attention

Icons on text boxes animate when hovering over them.

Cognitive Load

Make your message easier to understand by reducing the cognitive load.

Delight

Add a spark of enjoyment and make your project more memorable.

Aesthetic Matters

Impress with well-implemented, aesthetically pleasing designs.

Picture Superiority Effect

Make your user want to engage with your product through a satisfying payoff.

What makes a poor web animation experience?
Overload

Be mindful not to bombard your user with too much visual information.

The dark side of looped animation

Avoid the common risks of using looped animations in your designs.

From delight to annoyance

Where "too much" can cause a bad user experience.

Non-realistic animation

Keep movement grounded in reality.

Inaccessibility

Consider all of your audience when integrating animation.

Summary

The use of animated icons in your product isn’t always a guarantee of success. They do make the user experience better, and create positive sentiment in a number of different ways.

Choosing to use animated icons is all about balance. Try not to overload your content with them, as you’ll distract from the message you’re trying to convey. Use the right icons at the right time to charm your user in a way that doesn’t create an overwhelming effect.

The scales tip heavily in favor of incorporating animation in your UX design, whether that’s a web application, a social media presence, or a presentation. If you do your research, and correctly apply an animation, then you can reap the benefits of both engagement and entertainment. This, in turn, leads to better user experience, and as a consequence positively influences conversion rate.

A great animated design will strike the balance between innovation and learnability, information and delight. Make sure you don’t miss out on successful communication of your message, while ensuring your users don’t miss out on a great experience.

References