Tuesday, August 24, 2010

How animation changes an experience

It's quite amazing how a little animation can completely change an interaction. I was using my new iPhone this morning (which I'm loving) and I was thinking about the little animation that happens when I delete an e-mail. On my old Blackberry the e-mail would just go away, and the next one would appear. Whereas on my iPhone the e-mail changes shape and flies into the trash can shaped delete icon at the bottom of the page. This is the kind of thing that Apple has done on its computers for years, and they simply applied the same thinking to their handhelds. A no-brainer.

I now enjoy deleting e-mails. It's not a big thing. In fact, it's very minor. But it completely improves the experience.

This is the kind of thing that any good UX person will address. But why is it that some design really focuses on these kinds of elements, and others remains completely utilitarian? Is there a belief that adding animation makes something any less business-like? If it's fun, can it not also be functional?

And how can we apply UX thinking to a broader set of issues? Product design people think this way all the time. But what if we unleashed tech UX people on more conventional design problems. Annual reports and collateral materials could become much more interesting. How about for branding work or catalogues?

A kind-of-rambly thought for a Tuesday morning.

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