10 Animation Principles Every UX Designer Must Follow

For designers, animation is a powerful tool. Animation is a technique that manipulates images to appear as if they are moving. Animation can be more than just moving pictures. It can also be useful and communicative. Animations enhance the functionality of the system and add a layer to delight and enjoyment.
But, misplaced animations could cause problems. Animations that are not properly created can slow down websites, distract users from the main purpose, and even cause interface problems. It is important to understand the benefits of animation and its principles. Animation principles have played an important role in improving user experience, and influencing customer behavior, thanks to technological advancements.
Animation Basic Physics

It refers to the amount of frames it takes to move an object. If a ball drops to the ground in 6 seconds, it would take 144 frames (6×24 frames per sec). The human eye requires 24 frames to recognize animations as fluid motion. You can create realistic animations with the right timing.

Pacing refers to the speed at which the motion takes place. Users will be confused if your animation is too fast. Users will become bored if your animation is too slow.
Resistive Force

Resistive force refers to the sum of two or more forces that are in opposition to the body’s motion. This is a common use in experience design.
Reaction and Action

Newton’s third law, “every action has a equal and opposite reaction,” applies to UX and animation in interfaces and experiences. You expect a reaction when you click on a button.
Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnson, Disney animators, suggested that animations should be based on certain principles that allow for realistic movements and life-like characters.
Top 10 Animation Principles
Squash and Stretch

Animation principles include stretch and squash. It is the exaggeration or distortion of a non-rigid object’s interaction with the world. It creates an illusion of flexibility, elasticity and smoothness to your animation. Your scene requirements will determine the scale of stretch and squash. Stretch is used to show acceleration or anticipation. Squash can be used to show the force of effect. Animation will be more lively if there is more squash or stretch. Its absence causes rigidity or stiffness in the motion. This technique is used in character animation. It is not used in feature films, where realistic characters are present.
When using stretch and squash, ensure that the volume remains constant throughout the animation. It makes your animation more interactive and lifelike by adding a comical effect.

Anticipation is a series of small actions that lead to a larger action. It is the energy behind all actions. It can be divided into three parts: preparation, main action, and termination. Preparation is the most important and longest part. Animations are very fast. The animations are too short for users to fully grasp and understand what is going on. The animation’s end is called termination.
A character must think and plan before they do anything. If a character is about jump, it will crouch first. If a character is going throw a stone it will swing its arms. Anticipation builds audience excitement. It can also give insight into the thoughts and feelings of a character. The more action, the more exaggerated the anticipation should be.

Staging is the clear presentation and display of an idea. Staging is the act of creating a scene that emphasizes characters, events, or objects. Staging is easy and can be very effective. This principle determines where things are placed, which characters are there, and what the camera is seeing.
It can also be used for anticipation. Staging is achieved by the arrangement of cameras, their movements, music, and poses. These shots include medium shots, master shots, close-ups, and even close-ups. These elements show a character’s reaction to, temper, and attitude in the story.
You should not confuse the reader by having too many actions happening simultaneously. Otherwise, you will be unable to convey the main idea. This technique is used in animations, movies, and plays. It is an essential principle in visual storytelling.
Straight Ahead Action and Pose to-Pose

This is the only principle that suggests how to approach animation. Straight ahead action shows one frame and then the next until the scene is complete. This method can result in a loss of volume, size, or proportions, but it allows for more spontaneity due to its unrestricted and unplanned nature. It is more commonly used in hand-drawn animations. It allows you to control every action that takes place, which results in greater realism and smoothness.
Pose-to-pose is more planned than straight-ahead action. It is composed of clearly arranged elements

You Might Also Like