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Why the most visited websites don't have animations?

crisz profile image crisz ・1 min read

If we check the most famous websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, Youtube and so on, we can notice the lack of transitions and animations, with few exceptions (e.g. the facebook reactions).
Transitions in dropdown menus or in popup openings can be found in almost all amateur websites, so I wonder why not in the most famous. Should we worry? Are there drawbacks that I'm ignoring?

Discussion

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern

As someone who runs a website not that different from the ones mentioned in form-factor—I believe that a lot of animations are not worth it in a lot of cases.

If I want to use the site every day, as opposed to a landing page which should perhaps tell a precise story to a first-time user, I really want to optimize for usability and performance. Animations can be brutal on both fronts.

In an ideal world, animations are used tastefully in a few places but not reached for just to "spice things up".

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crisz profile image
crisz Author

Thank you for your contribution. I agree, animations are ok only in a landing page.
Now I'm wondering why there's a so massive use in Android applications

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rhymes profile image
rhymes

Not sure exactly why, but it seems that Material design and Google encourage them.

I do not mind animations in mobile apps.

Could it be that we've been "trained" to expect animations in mobile apps and frown upon them on desktop web sites?

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Dian Fay

Animations were in vogue up until around half a decade ago and I'm glad they're dead. You still see them in older websites and in the efforts of amateurs who aren't making a point to stay on top of design trends, but menu slides and fades and so on instantly date an interface just like an "under construction" image or flaming skull gif.

Animations are difficult to reconcile with markup: ever played whack-a-mole with a menu that disappears as you try to move your mouse pointer over where you need to click? They are distracting and irritating for users, whose eyes are naturally drawn to motion and who have to wait for your animation to play out before they can get back to what they were doing -- fractions of seconds make a difference! And used carelessly they can easily render a website inaccessible for users with visual or motor impairments.

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crisz profile image
crisz Author

I agree on everything you said. Do you think there's a limit under which transitions are not disturbing? I think a good tradeoff would be under 200ms.

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dmfay profile image
Dian Fay

I think there could be. Where the threshold lies would be a great question for someone who actually studies and works with user experience, which I don't :)