The web is an ever-evolving medium propelled forward by enthusiastic developers and creators. Animation is just a slice of web design that has risen to high acclamation in recent years. The methods and techniques for adding motion to an interface may have changed, but the end result is still a lively design with charming interactive tendencies.
Aesthetic appeal in web design can be generated through various means. And while everyone can appreciate beauty, the self-proclaimed aesthetes will surely notice the power of beautiful animation.
A website’s homepage can be improved through branding, icons, illustrations, or any number of added features. Once the underlying user experience has been created, it’s easier to focus on a layer of colorful graphics and spicy design techniques. Animation is one such technique that can really spice up a homepage to draw attention from new visitors.
Content Galleries & Slideshows
Interactive page elements can also utilize animation for a snappy response to user input. Mobile touchscreen apps were the first to pioneer the concept of immediate response based on the user’s action.
For example Google’s Material Design & Apple’s iOS both support multiple animation styles. Users can swipe, tap, touch & hold, pull down, pinch & zoom, among other alternatives. These interactions will create different animations based on the operating system’s UX guidelines.
Take a look at the Apple Mac website near the top of the page. It has a product slider featuring all of the various Mac products. On first pageload each item will animate and fade into the slider. Then as you click between different categories the items will animate in from the side.
What’s interesting about this effect is motion applied to each item. When moving to the right new items will animate in like the slider panned over to the right. When moving back it’ll actually feel like the slider is panning back like a video camera. This elastic animation makes the website feel more “alive” as if it behaves according to the natural laws of gravity and motion.
Form Input Fields
Another interactive element is the ever-popular web form. Most forms are comprised of various elements like text fields, radio buttons, checkboxes, select menus, and other thingamabobs.
Animated forms behave just like content sliders – they give a sense of life to user interactivity. Users enjoy seeing a response from their click, scroll, or keypress event. The default browser response is often fine, but adding that little extra oomph to your form can make all the difference.
There’s a big juicy hodgepodge of navigation styles to choose from – and unsurprisingly most of them can be animated. Many designers think of the hamburger sliding menus like you’d find on the Comedy Central or Supereightwebsites. But this is perhaps the obvious answer to sliding navigation.
Expansive Page Motion
Perhaps the most difficult and high-risk style of web animation is a layout based on many various animated elements. There is no official name for this technique but the idea follows that a designer would create lots of different animations for the pageload, along with user interactions like mouse hovers.
One of the newer standards into the field of web animation is SVG. These are vector-based graphics which can be rendered, resized, and scaled naturally without any quality loss. Adobe Illustrator is the most popular program for creating SVGs but there are other alternatives.
All of these trends have come together through an advancement of frontend technologies and browser standards. CSS animation is a powerful feature that has recently been gaining serious traction.
I hope these trends can offer a picturesque look into the modern state of web design and the potential future of CSS web animation.