Since the early days of the internet, moving elements in web pages have been a powerful and attractive technique for designers. With the increased mobile use of the net and sophisticated expectations from the audience, however, movement is more controlled and designed than before.
What is meaningful motion?
Google has published some useful indication in its Material Design guidelines. That site also has a link to a helpful animation. Well-designed motion will guide the user, show hierarchical and spatial relationships, hide its process (like loading delay), and delight the user with its purpose and polish. It should be responsive, give swift reaction to user input, echo real world movement, react to other elements and the user, and take the viewer’s attention where it should next go. Successful motion should be quick. If the viewer is aware they are waiting, their attention will drift. It should be clear and contain simple, coherent pathways without complexity. It should also be cohesive; throughout the app or site, the nature of movement should be consistent and with similar purpose.
The user must sense that the motion is understandable and helpful and see how it is progressing their experience. Relations in importance and in space must remain consistent with the movement explaining them rather than contradicting them. Any necessary loading should be swift and invisible to avoid latency. There should be a consistent and clear focus to the motion, which should always make sense to the user.
What is not so good?
Like any technique, if motion is badly used, it will be worse than counter-productive. Slow or staggered movement that leaves the user frustrated should be avoided at all costs. Unclear and confused movement with conflicting items or crossed pathways is not good. Unfocussed or apparently unnecessary movement will distract the user.
If you are in the position of using contracting out your web design, it would be worth ensuring your chosen provider is well acquainted with meaningful motion. If you are looking for web designers in Swansea, agencies like http://www.accent-adc.co.uk/category/website-design-web-designers-responsive-websites/ will be happy to discuss it with you.
Designing your own
If you design your own site, it is worth making the effort to research Google’s guidelines and consider using meaningful motion in your sites.