Want to design an app that stands out? Animation can help take your app design to the next level. It makes your app interface memorable, engaging and easy to navigate.

But how do you actually develop or use animations for your app interface? Here are best practices to keep to when designing with animation, as well as types of animations you can start using.

"web designer" animation by sachin udayangana

Animation design best practices

These best practices can help you design and implement effective animations for your app.

1. Work with a designer dedicated to creating a strong UX

You'll want to make sure you have at least one designer on your team who's dedicated to creating a strong UX. A dedicated UX designer uses important design strategies such as competitor analysis, user research, and wireframing to ultimately arrive at great UX ideas for your app. Above all, you need a UX designer whose ideas for your animation designs align with the goals of your brand.

2. Optimize sequences, speed and duration

Another best practice to follow when designing your app's animations is to optimize your animations’ sequences, speed and duration. It's a waste of time to try and animate every single piece of your app's interface all at once – avoid visual clutter by using delays of 20ms between animations to create a sequence of ordered animations on your user's screen.

In addition, create animations that are appropriately timed. For example, you could keep the duration of your animations shorter if you want to make your app feel responsive and snappy.

3. Keep your audience in mind

Finally, you also need to develop animations with the goal of holding your users' attention and focus in mind. So, although it may be tempting to create as many animations as possible, instead only develop animations that direct a user's attention from one point to another. Prioritizing focus and attention will reduce the risk of cluttering your app with too much motion – and ultimately losing your users' interest.

Types of animations to include in your website or mobile app

Now that you have a better idea of how to develop and implement animations, here are types of animations you could use for your app design.

"3D Hand" animation by Neon 3D

1. 3D graphics and animation

3D animations are so important to keep an eye on because they simply mean more to a user than a flat, two-dimensional animation. While flat animations don't come too close to mimicking reality and conveying a sense of realistic motion, 3D animations mimic a user's perception of reality and can be visually more interesting and enjoyable.

You can also use both flat illustrations and 3D graphics to create interesting effects. For example, here’s how to combine Lottie animations and 3D graphics in a single landing page.

"Loading" animation by Ebrahem Khaled

2. User interface animations

It's no secret that the attention spans of mobile device users aren't getting any longer. You need a way to quickly establish an emotional connection with your users before they lose interest. User interface animations can help.

An easy way to integrate user interface animations is through your loading animations. No one likes to idle while they stare blankly at a loading screen just to access the content they're interested in, so why not make your loading screens a little bit more exciting? Animated objects that reflect loading progress, such as animated interfaces that display a progress bar or percentages, are great at passing time for your users and keeping them engaged.

"Error 404" animation by Boltbite

3. Animated 404 error pages

You can even use animated pages for error pages (such as 404 error pages) instead of using a static error page. While this may sound trivial, most websites don’t use animations or any kind of design in their error pages. Believe it or not, a 404 page with a little extra creativity can reduce the odds that a user leaves your site after landing on it.

"Logo character animation" by Soter Animation Studio

4. Animated characters

Brands who want to take their apps to the next level should consider using animated characters if their app includes explainer videos that demonstrate products or services. They're also extremely useful when used in commercials that tell a story about your business's mission and goals.

The reason? Users love to watch animated characters who have something to say about a product, rather than static shapes or objects that don't do much to establish an emotional connection. Animations that depict interesting characters who have something to say can quickly evoke a sense of companionship (just like real people!).

Ready to take your app design to the next level?

You'd be hard-pressed to develop an app that's easy to navigate and compelling to your users if you forego animation. If you're ready to design animations to integrate into your app, consider the animation design best practices above. Take your app design to the next level with 3D animations, interface animations, custom error pages and animated characters.