The human brain was designed to be acutely aware of motion, and for as long as we have lived alongside predators, it has been key to our survival. If the flash of orange and black stripes in the bushes didn't catch your eye, then you were in for a nasty surprise and probably wouldn't live long enough to pass on your genes. And while today, our relationship with movement has progressed from the real world to the digital world, the involuntary effects it has on our passive attention remain mostly unchanged.
As technology and how we use it evolves, it's evident that the time we spend in the digital realm will exponentially grow. The way we interact with our devices has already changed tenfold, spurred forth by advances in user interface design to improve user experience. Animations took place over static images and brought things to life, building a bridge between digital and real-world experiences. They served as vehicles of communication to answer the user's need for instant gratification and to craft a relationship of familiarity to seamlessly integrate the experiences of these co-existing worlds.
As a result of having everything available at just the push of a button, we humans of modern-day have become acclimatized to anticipate satisfaction with little or no delay. Our Uber rides, food deliveries, favorite movies, and even our next date are now no more than a couple of clicks and swipes away. Our environment, and more primarily our digital products, have shaped our worlds, and now technology has to maintain expectations it has set its users.
The key to fulfilling our desire for instant gratification and maintaining user engagement is the ability to communicate progress, or at the very least, the illusion of progress. It is in this communication where animation and micro interactions have made one of the most significant contributions. They are used to give feedback to the user and satisfy the human tendency to expect a response when triggering an action. The power we hold over the technology in our hands and the results of cause and effect at our fingertips is intrinsically fascinating.
Knowing that our tech is listening and responding to our demands is wholly reassuring, but when it comes to technology, instant results are not always possible no matter how short or long the delay may be. The technology needs to build trust in our expectations, and animation can serve as a tool to fill that gap by merging real-world elements with our digital experiences.
We humans need to see things move to know they're alive, and this is certainly no different when it comes to our interactions with the digital world. Whether it's seeing the wheels of cogs turning as our phones are updating or the jump of an item into our carts as we shop online, movement is reassuring, and our brains need it to recognize things are working.
Considering the evolution of our environments, the modern-day technology and functionality that we live our lives alongside is still a rather new introduction. Its alien existence in our world has worked to gain our trust by attempting to imitate real-life. While these things don't have to be replicated to make the tech work, they are needed to enhance the user experience. The swipe to unlock on our phones mimicking the unbolting of a lock or the camera shutter closing on your screen as you take a photo are all examples of tech imitating life to bridge that gap between reality and the technological world.
Up until now, creating and implementing interactive animations wasn't easy and would come at a cost. There was no middle ground, and you had to choose from: a quality video that consumes space and slows down performance, low quality faster to load GIFs and PNG sequences, or animation made through CSS which came with limitations as to what you can do with them.
Lottie is changing all this. Lightweight, much smaller than GIFs, but better in quality, they are more versatile than animations you can make using CSS. They work on any device and can scale up or down without pixelation. Open-source and free Lottie players exist for the web, iOS, Android, Windows, QT, Tizen, and other platforms to allow for diverse usage of the Lottie file format.
Bring these easy to use animations to your products with LottieFiles, home to Lottie animations and the tools you need to test and perfect them. Even if you’re not looking to create your own, there are thousands of free and easy to implement ready-made Lottie animations that you can use.