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‘UI Animation’ is typically thought of by designers as something that makes the user experience more delightful, but overall doesn’t add much value. Thus, UI Animation is often treated like the red-headed stepchild of UX.
What most designers think of as ‘UI Animation’ is in fact the execution of a higher modality of design: the temporal behavior of interface objects during realtime and non-realtime events.
It is important to distinguish between ‘state’ and ‘act.’ The state of something in UX is fundamentally static, like a design comp. The act of something in UX is fundamentally temporal, and motion based.
An object can be in the state of being masked or it can be in the act of being masked.
All temporal aspects of interaction can be thought of as happening in realtime or non-realtime. Realtime means that the user is directly interacting with the objects in the user interface. Non-realtime means that the object behavior is post-interactive: it occurs after a user action, and is transitional.
These four pillars represent the four ways where the temporal behavior of user experiences supports usability.
Principles are the underlying premises and rules of function giving rise to any number of techniques. From there, we can imagine a hierarchy with principles at the top, techniques further down, properties below that, and values at the bottom. I think of technique as akin to ‘ Style.’properties are the specific object parameters that are being animated to create the technique. Values are the actual Numeric property values that vary over time to create what we call ‘ animation'
Easing and Offset & Delay relate to timing. Parenting relates to object relationship. Transformation, Value Change, Masking, Overlay, and Cloning all relate to object continuity. Parallax relate to temporal hierarchy. Obscuration, Dimensionality and Dolly & Zoom both relate to spatial continuity.
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