The recent news that Adobe will soon stop updating and distributing Flash got me thinking about media, animations, and their use in web development. Although worth their own post, GIFs (with a hard G like Getfused, not J like the peanut butter) are not the animations I’m talking about. Animations for graphic purposes and user interaction in web development today can now be very refined and well executed to the point that the user barely notices them, unlike bulky, cumbersome Flash designs.
I remember using Macromedia’s Flash when I was first learning what my high school called “Web Mastering”. In its heyday, Flash was used as a tool to make websites more interactive and fun. Things could rotate, shrink or grow, spin around, or whatever else you wanted them to do! People made entire websites or even games with Flash. However, it did come with issues like the user having to install it separately and regularly update it to be able to use your site, click to enable it, or its inherent security flaws. As time progressed, so did technology, leaving Flash in the dust of its more modern counterparts.
When done well, animations like these just become part of the overall, polished user experience by creating visual interest, indicating to the user that something is happening in response to their input, or drawing their attention. While avoiding being heavy handed with them, if the animation adds value and the code is efficient, why not have a little bit of fun! Be animated, tastefully!