This was a fun project. At the beginning of every design or redesign project I ask what’s the audience for this web site. For Pony Party Place the audience is families with young children. Research showed unanimously that children respond best to cartoon web sites. This is my first cartoon-style web site and I had a blast with it. I purchased a stock cartoon pony, but the rest of the cartoon images I either created in Photoshop or got from free clip-art sites. I also did an on-site photo shoot at one of the parties, which, by the way, looked like one of the best kid birthday parties ever.
Do you like animation or flashy motion effects on a web site? In general, I don’t, unless they provide added value to me. A scrolling or jumping animation might catch my eye for a second, but it takes less than a second to click to another web site that isn’t so irritating.
I detest advertising. We all do, that’s one reason why TiVO is so popular. Advertising invades our mind space without asking our permission. A web site with animated advertising reminds me of Mexican jumping beans! Instead of getting eye strain, I’ll just click to another web site.
There are instances when motion graphics are useful, such as:
- Slide shows that the user can control
- Embedded videos when they are relevant, make me laugh, or teach me something. Make sure a video is high quality. Embed the video on the page, don’t make the visitor click to another site to watch it.
One of the keys to success, if you’re going to put something flashy on your site, is to give control to the visitor. I don’t want to passively sit while something runs. That’s why I always click Skip Intro (you know what I’m talking about).
Here’s a web site with moving graphics that I like. James Zabiela is a DJ so it makes sense that his web site puts on a high tech show. I like this twist: instead of placing motion graphics against a static background, he puts motion graphics in the background and places static text over it. I also like the sleek and elegant music player he provides unobtrusively in the upper right corner. The player lets me turn off the sound, if I would like to. Give control to the visitor!
What’s Appropriate for You?
What is your message and do motion graphics enhance or undermine it? Know your target customer. Make the site comfortable for them. And, put them in control of the graphics.
Analysis by Smart Alice Web Design & Photography, smart web design for businesses who want a unique and effective presence on the internet.
Copyright 2009, Alice Gebura, All Rights Reserved.
One of my all time favorite web sites is David Lebovitz, Living the Sweet Life in Paris. Lebovitz is an all star pastry chef. His web site/blog has fabulous food photos (I’ve included an example here). The images are superb – beautiful, professional photographs that instantly tell you this guy is serious about food and food quality. He uses those gorgeous photos to illustrate his various culinary adventures with ingredients and funky kitchen gadgets.