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Website Animation: Does Your Website Need It?

March 29, 2019 - Written by Tyler Morian
Home > Blog > Website Animation: Does Your Website Need It?

Every business website is competing for precious user attention, with only seconds to make a splash big enough to make a user stop and pay attention.

Since the days of Flash animation, companies have looked for ways to attract and entertain website visitors by integrating animation. Now in the age of ROI, every website element must also funnel a user towards conversion, whether it’s an online purchase, call, click, or form submission. But today’s consumers are skeptical of brands, shying away from those that hide information and rewarding companies who take the time to connect with users on a more human level.

Additionally, study after study shows that a website’s visual aesthetics affect a user’s desire to remain onsite and explore. It stands to reason that choosing animation as a way to engage, connect with, and inform website visitors will provide any brand with a distinctive advantage.

The Case for Animation

Website design and development technology has finally brought us to an exciting point, an intersection where art meets science. In this paper, we’ll explore how:

  • User perception and credibility can be influenced through quality design and animation
  • Creating clarity and understanding of complex B2B products and solutions through animated resources will help your customers apply your offering to their business.

how to optimize website speed

Enhancing Design & Conversion Through Animation

Good design is more than just an exercise in creativity. Research shows that the way your website looks has a major impact on the way users perceive your brand, and ultimately, whether or not they want to keep learning about your business:

  • First impressions are 94% design-related
  • Judgements on credibility are 75% based on a site’s overall aesthetics
  • 38% of consumers stop engaging with a website of the content is unattractive in layout or imagery
  • 46% of consumers base their decisions on the credibility of a website from its visual appeal & aesthetics. – (Source: The Real Business of Web Design by John Waters)

Animation is extremely effective in winning over potential customers as they experience your site. At a 30,000-foot view, website animations serve two key purposes for businesses:

  1. Delighting the user with animated functions
  2. Educating the user to move them through the sales cycle

It accomplishes these two objectives by:

  • Capturing and holding user attention
  • Increasing user curiosity and engagement
  • Customizing your content to create brand differentiation

This can manifest in a number of ways throughout a website, from small user interface cues to more complex means of improving user experience by breaking down complex concepts. We’ll explore more of the latter in the next section.

Lighter elements of animation not only make a website fun and engaging, but also serve to communicate and cue actions as well. For example, a small arrow may quiver or jump to indicate that there’s more content if you scroll in that direction. Or, you may see an animated airplane circling a globe while a travel booking site loads your flight options.

Built intelligently and purposefully, animations can gradually build an unforgettable user experience that keeps visitors on your site longer, encourages them to explore and engage with content, and ultimately create a strong brand affinity that leads to them choosing you over a less impressive competitor.

customer centric website

What Is Website Animation Used For?

Simulating Systems Or Explaining Dynamic Processes

This is a big one for software and production companies. Sometimes, words and static graphics just can’t quite explain the way a complex system or process actually works. Animation can help break it down element by element.

Telling a Story With Data

Company timelines, case studies, product demonstrations, data display—animation can add visual interest and understanding to what could be very dry information.

Facilitating the User Experience Through Visual Hints and Navigational Transitions

Websites should be intuitive to the user. Creating a visual language of hints and transitions teaches the user how to navigate your site quickly and understand what to do next.

Solidifying Abstract Concepts/Breaking Down Complex Ideas Or Metaphors

Think big, but make sure you bring your users along for the ride. Users are likely to bounce within seconds if they can’t grasp information. Keep them engaged through visuals that tap into both their affective and cognitive interests.

Visualizing Things You Can’t See

Today’s web users expect lightning-fast loading times. But sometimes, you may need to run a process behind the scenes that takes longer than typical to finish. Visual cues keep users informed about what’s happening.

The bottom line is that animation is good for your bottom line. By embracing the dual purposes of user delight and education at different places throughout your online sales cycle, your leads and customers will associate your company as a credible source that understands what they need to make a buying decision.

Measuring the Value of Web Animation

Admittedly, website animation is more of an investment than using simple graphics. However, the value of this investment is measurable through a variety of tools, yielding both quantitative and qualitative data showing how your website is serving to boost engagement and conversion, along with brand awareness, perception, and credibility.

Google Analytics – GA is probably the most popular and widely-used traffic and conversion tracking tool. Your dashboard can show you a whole host of information about your website, from pages visited the most/least, time on page, time on site, and more.

Google Tag Manager – GTA is used specifically to track conversions through tags, which are used for all sorts of purposes including scroll tracking, form submissions, surveys, heat maps, remarketing, or tracking how people arrive at your site.

Heat Mapping Tools – Heat maps provide a visual illustration of how users engage with your website. The colors correspond with the amount of time users spend on certain parts of a page, along with what they’ve clicked on or engaged with.

Direct Surveys and Field Work – Digital surveys and in-person focus groups are both used to track users’ experience engaging with websites. Surveys can also be used to gauge and measure changes in brand perception over time.

Final Thoughts

We are at a unique intersection point in the history of website technology and consumer expectations. Once just a novelty, website animation has begun to fill the gap between visually appealing user experiences and measurable ROI.

By embracing purposeful animation as a visual tool, you’re not only creating an enormous competitive advantage for yourself, you’re also creating valuable, entertaining, and educational content. This earns credibility and moves potential customers deeper through the buying journey.

But it’s not a visual medium to be undertaken lightly. In the wrong hands, animation is a distraction that drives users away. It’s vital to find a digital partner well-versed in the science of learning and user behavior. This partner should intelligently apply art and technology in a way that generates real results.

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Interpreted for today, an animated picture is worth a thousand words—and could be worth thousands in revenue.

Elevate your Digital Identity and win more for your best customers