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Web Animation Technologies For Your Web Design

Web Animation Technologies For Your Web Design

Design Process
6 min

Animations have always helped to catch the eye of a visitor and rescue them from dull scrolling and boring seconds of loading time. These tiny islands of action evoke emotions, build connections and guide the users’ attention. 

Arounda team has worked with tools for web animation, providing web design for startups and SMBs for five years. We create websites that allow brands to tell their story and deliver the right message to the target audience. 

In this article, we discuss web animations as a marvelous zest of the site, which boosts native advertising while avoiding cheap dissimulation. We have put together information and practical experiences about:

  • web animation types
  • web animation tools and techniques in JavaScript, CSS, and HTML
  • site builders that don't need coding for animation
  • inspiring animation examples

Popular Techniques For Animation In Website Design

It's well known that the human eye reacts to motion. Best web animation tools use this biological instinct to attract attention to the essential points on the site and to give guidelines for the viewers' journey.

Progression or Loading Animation

When a person first opens the website, they expect something to appear on the screen. If there is a blank page instead, the visitor may assume something went wrong and leave. Loading animation signals that everything goes well and makes the waiting time more pleasant. Such animations are best when they are simple and humorous. 

Skeleton screens

Another engaging welcome to the site is a skeleton screen. This animation reveals the information on the page gradually from top to bottom. The user can easily follow from the top image or heading to the next section and not wait until the whole page is loaded. 

Visual Feedback

A user-friendly site feels like a virtual handshake. The user makes the first steps on your landing page, and when they explore it, the animated response follows. The interaction guides the visitors when they are doing something right or wrong. The most common examples are hover effects when buttons light up or change shape, highlighted links, warning or success icons, and nodding forms. 

Navigation

Menus and sidebars v

ery often reveal themselves after the click on three lines of a hamburger icon or rolling down from the top horizontal menu. This kind of animation is caring and engaging at the same time. You don't overload the visitor’s eye with numerous menu items all the time but make them appear when they are needed. Tiny animated icons of the sidebar menus are subtle enough not to distract but are always within reach. 

State Change Without Hard Cuts

Transitions between sections of the same page happen quite often. Sometimes it's hard to maintain context when the jump is instant and feels like a 'hard cut.' It's much more pleasant and more 'natural' to move along the article smoothly. This is where state change animations come in handy. Several web animation technologies, including mo.js and three.js can help soften the edges.   

Storytelling

Whenever it's possible to show something instead of writing about it, we suggest doing so. A few secs of a cartoon story of a product, or how it works might become a delightful and entertaining experience. Visitors will perceive and memorize a storytelling animation much easier than the most comprehensive but wordy article. Stories also add emotional connection and breathe life into your site.

Scrolling 

If you break the information on the page into smaller chunks and add animation to the most meaningful sections, scrolling will never be dull. It's better to be careful with the parallax effect, though, as it can be irritating. Instead, consider more gentle divides like backgrounds and fonts. Web animation tools like Velocity.js or ScrollReveal JS are good for creative scrolling.

Why Should You Use Animation In Your Website Design?

Improving aesthetics isn’t the main reason to use animations. Here is why you need them.

First of all, we use web design animation tools to take control of the user’s attention. This may sound like manipulation, but at the core of marketing is your product’s or service's honest and precise description. And animations help you show how great you are. 

Moreover, animations entertain, explain, educate, awaken emotion and make the exploration of the page pleasant and stemless.

The traditional spots for animations are:

  • Welcoming tops or progressions
  • Menu and sidebar navigation 
  • Buttons
  • Call To Action (CTA)
  • Backgrounds
  • Page motion
  • Transitions
  • Galleries and slideshows
  • Help

Creative Web Animation Examples 

Sometimes you need to search high and low for inspiring website animation ideas. Here are some sites with well-made animations for your piggy bank. 

Rightpoint

Rightpoint resource meets you with a rather aggressive pack of background videos, animated CTA, and parallax effects. No doubt that these animations help it to stand out from the crowd. 

Brain Bakery

The Brain Bakery captivates the visitor with animated backgrounds and a rare mouse movement hover. There are also spinning and turning spots that keep your eye busy.  

Beyond Beauty

Beyond Beauty turns storytelling into art with the help of page motion, type animations, and creative backgrounds. 

Rollpark 

The Rollpark site shows a great scrolling example. Animations support important bits of information and illustrate the technology of roll-up commercial parking simply and engagingly. 

Species in Pieces

Species in Pieces uses JavaScript, CSS animation, and SVG shapes made of triangular pieces only to draw attention to 30 endangered species. The parking meditative background music also provokes thoughts on saving the beautiful creatures. 

Website Animation Tools and JS Frameworks

Generally, there are four types of website animation tools:

  • HTML5 Canvas element
  • CSS and JavaScript programming languages, as well as JavaScript libraries
  • Code-free website builders
  • Graphic Suites like Adobe After Effects, Keyshape, BeatFlyer, Project Cue

Often a front-end developer may need a mixture of code, ready JavaScript libraries, graphic suites, and online tools like CodePen to reach the right effect. 

Here we have gathered some web animation tools examples.  

HTML5 Canvas

HTML5 is the latest version of hypertext marker language, which has additional features for video, audio, and animation support. For example, the canvas element makes working with 2d shapes and images much easier. Previously, data visualization, photo manipulation, and real-time video processing on HTML were rather complicated or even impossible. So when people talk about animations in HTML5, they mostly mean Canvas.

CSS

CSS animation is a function that changes the properties of an element, like width, height, and color, creating an illusion of movement. Pure CSS animationsneed no other code from JavaScript for additional media files. They are built using: an HTML element like <div> or <p>, a rule which starts the animation, and keyframes that describe the styles at the beginning and at the end of the animation.  

JavaScript Frameworks

JavaScript is the best programming language for advanced animations with lots of moving parts. It allows gradual changes of one or more element styles and gives more flexibility than CSS animations. The only disadvantage of Java animations is that they require external libraries, additional CPU, and loading time.

Here is the list of the most powerful JS frameworks for web animations:

1. Three.js

Three.js is the top JS library with 88K stars on GitHub. It enables 3D animations and has a set of ready-to-go tools for creating scenes, lights, shadows, materials, textures, and more. Three.js depends on Web Graphics Library (WebGL) when it comes to rasterization and rendering. There is not much you can't do with the help of Three.js and there are piles of documentation to support you.

2. Anime.js

Anime.js library allows you to make ripples, directional movements, overlapping and follow-through effects. This lightweight tool can animate HTML, CSS, JS, SVG and DOM attributes. The rate on GitHub hits 43K+ stars.

3. Velocity.js

With Velocity.js, you can complete the most sophisticated animations such as scrolling browser windows, looping, reversing, delaying, hiding, and showing elements, as well as property math. This animation library also implements the best of jQuery and CSS transitions. Giants like Uber, Instagram, and WhatsApp love working with Velocity.

4. Theatre.js 

Theatre.js is a specialized library for motion graphics. It lets you adjust camera angles, manipulate lights or shades, and do other things to convey movement nuances. The framework creates animations by changing the JavaScript variables, and so it's compatible with any other front-end library like Three.js. 

5. Popmotion 

Popmotion libraries suit well for building amiable user interfaces. You can accomplish animations like keyframes, decay, or timeline. Popmotion is lightweight and comes as a functional supplement to any JavaScript environment. The rating on GitHub is slightly over 19K stars. 

6. Vivus

Vivus adds dynamics to Scalable Vector Graphics vector images (SVGs). For example, if you want to animate a pen drawing, Vivus will do the job. The library works independently, doesn’t weigh much, and processes SVGs fast.

7. GreenSock (GSAP)

GSAP property manipulator animates objects from small JavaScript files, Canvas, CSS, SVG, or DOM. For instance, you can rotate or scale each property separately. This powerful library works with SVGPlugins, PixiPlugin, WebGL, Adobe Animate, and EaseJS. You only choose the needed function from the modular structure.

Website Building Platforms that Don't Require Coding

But what if you don't have programming experience in JavaScript, HTML, or CSS? In this case, website builders can be handy helpers in web animation. The latest site constructors come with ready animated blocks for video backgrounds, galleries, jumping pictures, hover effects for buttons and links, and know how to implement I-frames and media. 

It will take a few minutes to create a nice, animated site with one of the builders below:

Final Thoughts

The usual workflow in animating your site implies collaboration between specialists. First, the designer creates the idea, the concept, and the mapping of the site in graphic design packages like Photoshop or Figma. Then client approves the idea, and the front-end developer chooses the technology to embody the web animations, checks them through the CodePen or other editors, and adjusts the result to the initial task.

Arounda has a strong team of specialists who are keen on UI/UX design, including research, prototyping, and development, with more than 37 awards as a Top Rated Design Agency in Upwork, Dribble, and Clutch. 

If you are looking for a trustworthy partner to work on delightful web design, we are here for you!

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