One web trend I have noticed becoming more and more common recently is the use of intrusive animation. It seems you can’t log onto a news site, a blog, your Hotmail account or even a font website without being bombarded with unnecessary moving graphics mostly in the form of advertisements. These advertisements may get your attention, they do little to convince me to buy their product or even click to find out more.
While movies, banks, insurance providers and car companies are some of the worst offenders, everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. On one website I logged onto this morning I counted 6 moving advertisements and not one of them was any more convincing than the static ads on the same page. Some product websites use animation so heavily that if you don’t have the fastest internet connection you spend more time looking at a pre-loader than you do exploring the content you went there to read in the first place.
On one popular news website I regularly visit they have allowed advertisements to expand to either pop-up full screen over the content you are reading or expand so that the news article you are engrossed in suddenly moves a couple of inches down the page. Very distracting and very unnecessary! Another common theme is to have rapidly flashing words and graphics beaconing at you from the sides of the page so quickly it could send an epileptic into a fit. While some may argue these animations get your attention and thus make you more aware of the brand they are advertising, I would argue that they are so intrusive they’re more inclined to make you switch off. I know I for one have abandoned a website because the advertising was irritating me.
Right now you are probably thinking that I am a massive hater of any form of animation in advertising or web but you’d be wrong. Animation can be great if it is done cleverly and serves a purpose other than providing an outlet for your designer who likes to use Flash. If the movement adds something to the message or invites interactivity with the user (at their leisure) then I say go for it. It can be great fun ‘playing around’ with an interactive website. Advertisements that communicate a stronger message through the use of animation will be more memorable. If it makes what you are trying to say more potent or encourages a user to spend more productive time on your site then it is worthwhile.
What I do recommend against is making any movement too quick. Keep file sizes small enough so they don’t cause load issues. Don’t use animation just because you can – it’s not suitable for every business or product. And remember a stylish, well branded advertisement or web page can be far more effective than one that uses loads of movement.