Brussels / 3 & 4 February 2018


Interface Animation from the Future

Animation can make interfaces better because it allows interface changes to explained visually, making them easier to grasp. However, when animating interfaces is important to consider the spatial model that is created by animations. Otherwise, it can lead to contradictions that make an interface more instead of less confusing. This talk introduces semantic animation, a way of designing interfaces that avoids contraditions by thinking about interfaces as a collection of components rather than a series of screens.

Animation is the future of interface design. It enables us to make interfaces more understandable by offloading processes from the user’s brain to the screen. However, in many cases animations are simply added as transitions between independently designed screens. This can result in animations contradicting each other spatially. I co-wrote an article about why this is a problem, and outlined a solution: Designing semantic components which change over time, and then using these to compose interfaces.

The industry seems to largely agree that this is the way forward, but there are very few interfaces implementing these ideas in a holistic way. I believe the main reason for this is that the current generation of toolkits and layout technologies is built for static layouts with strict hierarchies. This makes it prohibitively difficult to build interfaces where components move fluidly between different states.

I will talk about some of the challenges designing and implementing semantic animation both in prototypes and real-world applications, and give some general guidance on how you can make your applications more semantic.


Photo of Tobias Bernard Tobias Bernard