Animated transitions

Via Konigi:

Check out this project, Meaningful Transitions – it is the result of an undergraduate student’s research about integrating meaningful animated transitions in static Web interfaces. I cannot read German well enough to understand the methods he used to validate this research, Meaningful Transitions Websitebut I think it is quite interesting.

The basic argument is that meaningful animated transitions can ease users’ cognitive loads as they perform certain actions – e.g. scrolling, or orienting oneself on a page. I do believe that. As hated as animated transitions are in PowerPoint, I believe that if used well (if they are meaningful) they can actually help people understand concepts better.

Given the research topic, the website is not as clear and easy to use as I would expect. Still, it is worth taking a look at the specific transitions he created (patterns).

Here’s a blog post idea for you: Contact this student and interview him for your blog. Ask about his methods, how he came up with these ideas, and what research he did to validate them. I was just about to do this myself, but then, I though I’d let you have the idea if you’d like it. If you do, please let us know in the blog comments. We don’t want 10 people emailing him the same questions!!!

But, what do you think? Is this a good idea? Is it threatening to bring dreaded PowerPoint bells and whistles (even worse, FLASH!) to otherwise perfectly fine interfaces? Would seeing the same animation day after day in a piece of software be a waste of time and an annoyance? When would such transitions be useful, and for what kinds of products/contexts?

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