When it comes to web design, the key to success is creating an engaging and interactive experience for your users. There are many design elements to consider such as loading animations, micro-interactions, and of course, the subject of today - hover effects.
What are hover effects?
Hover effects are the changes that happen when you hover your mouse over an element on a website. It can be as subtle as a change in color or size, or be a more complex animation or transition. Whatever the effect may be, it adds an extra layer of interactivity to your user interface or website that can enhance user experience.
In fact, the Nielsen Norman Group found that hover effects can provide useful feedback to users and enhance their overall understanding of a webpage. So, let’s take a deep dive into the power of hover effects, especially on how they can completely transform the overall user experience of your website.
Why use hover effects?
- Better user feedback: Hover effects can provide immediate feedback to users, letting them know that their actions have an impact. This is especially useful in situations such as when the user needs to fill out a form, or complete a task. This can be represented by changing colors when hovering over an element, or having a tooltip to display a message.
- Visual appeal: Hover effects can add depth and dimension to a web page, making it more visually appealing and interesting. This can also help engage your users and encourage them to explore further.
- Highlight important content: You can draw attention to important content on your websites, such as call-to-action (CTA) buttons or featured products.
- Providing tooltips: Tooltips are great for helping users navigate through your website better. This can be done by adding more information when a user hovers over an icon to better explain the section. Additionally, this could help reduce clutter on your website.
- Creating animations: Hover effects can be used to create animations and transitions that make your website more dynamic and interesting.
Examples of hover effects used in brand websites
Tech giant, Apple, is a great example of how hover effects can be used to create a visually stunning website. Apple uses hover effects to add depth and dimension to their product pages with product images expanding and contracting as users hover over them.
Amazon, an online retailer, is another company that uses hover effects. They have hover effects on their product pages that provide users with additional information about the products. For example, when a user hovers over a product rating, a popup appears that shows the breakdown of the rating by star level.
Music streaming service, Spotify, uses hover effects on their web player. When you hover over a song, the play button appears, along with a heart-shaped like button and three dots for more options.
Clothing retailer, ASOS, creates a user-friendly website using hover effects. When you hover over a product image, the product image alternates to other photos and shows it from different views.
Design and prototyping tool, Framer, uses hover effects on their website elements to highlight each of their sections. This helps the user identify that it is clickable and enhances the overall content.
Best practices for using hover effects
While hover effects can be a powerful tool for improvising your website, it’s important to use them in a way that is effective and user-friendly. Here are some tips to keep in mind when implementing hover effects.
- Keep it simple: One of the biggest mistakes a designer can make is overusing hover effects. While they can make the website visually appealing, they can also be distracting and overwhelming for users. So, make sure to use it sparingly and only when they add value to the user experience. A study by Google found that users can become frustrated with too many hover effects, or hover effects that take too long to activate. On top of that, sometimes too many animations on a single page can affect its load speed too.
- Use hover effects consistently: Consistency is key when it comes to using hover effects. This means making sure they are consistent throughout your website, so that users know what to expect with their interactions.
- Consider the context: When using hover effects, it’s important to consider the context they will be used. For example, a subtle hover effect may work well on a corporate website, while a visually complex effect may be more appropriate for a more creative website.
- Optimize for mobile devices: Like we do with any website design, always make sure it is optimized for mobile devices! With more people accessing websites on their mobile devices, it’s important to ensure that your hover effects are optimized for smaller screens. You can consider using alternative effects, such as tap or swipe gestures, to provide similar functionality for mobile devices.
How to include hover effects
If you are looking to include hover effects on your website, here are two ways you can get started.
- CSS: One of the simplest ways to add hover effects to your website is using CSS. With CSS, you can change how an element looks when a user hovers over it. For example, you can use CSS to change the color of a button or text when a user hovers over it.
You could also check out prototyping tools such as Figma, which has a Smart Animate feature where you can create transitions between frames to simulate a hover effect during the prototyping stage.
Additionally, the Flows tool in Figma helps you create interactive prototypes with multiple screens and interactions. Using Flows, you can link a button or other element to a new screen that shows the hover state of that element. You could also use the LottieFiles plugin for Figma to add fun animations that move when you hover over.
Limitations of using hover effects
While hover effects are a great tool for the overall user experience, there are some challenges to keep in mind. For example, hover effects might be difficult to activate for users with disabilities. So, make sure to provide alternative ways to access the same information or functionality, such as using clickable buttons or textual descriptions.
Also, hover effects may not always be fully supported on mobile devices, which is why it is important to source for alternatives when it comes to user interaction.
Start creating more dimension for your website
Hover effects are a powerful tool for website designers looking to create more engaging and interactive websites. By adding depth and dimension to a web page, hover effects can enhance the overall user experience and provide visual cues that help them navigate throughout your website.
When used appropriately, hover effects can create a more immersive and engaging website that can keep users coming back for more. Also, you can check out our Lottie Player Interactivity Guide, which includes a helpful section on how to loop segments on hover and how to play animation on hover.
You could also check out the Lottie Web Player which can help you generate codes and embed Lottie animations on your websites - this is great for those who might not be familiar with coding!