All Glory to the Animation! 4 Main Types of Animations for Your Mobile App to Attract Users

All Glory to the Animation! 4 Main Types of Animations for Your Mobile App to Attract Users

Umbrella IT

“Use a picture. It's worth a thousand words,” they say. Then how much is an animation worth? Let’s give a shout-out to the animations in the mobile apps with Umbrella IT.

The animation is a dynamic visual form of the greatest importance for the human perception. Neither static images nor text can compete with it. Our eyes are biologically hardwired to pay attention to the moving objects rather than anything else. So it would be unreasonable not to take advantage of it with the animation in mobile app design.

Actually, the animation is such a long-standing mobile app feature that you might have even stopped noticing it.

But almost each touch of the button, each activation of burger icon somehow evokes an animated response. Most of the time this kind of animation is on the side of the optimization rather than aesthetics, yet it doesn’t lack class.


If you believe that animation is just an optional feature that slows the app load time and might be of a good use only for a gaming app, we have for you 3 proven counterpoints to reconsider it:

  • Cognitive load reduction
  • Easier navigation
  • Change blindness prevention

Illogical and sudden transitioning among the applications pages causes a perceptual phenomenon that is known in cognitive psychology as change blindness.

Dramatical and unlinked change of these navigation layers creates too much-unstructured information for a human brain to process so a user completely loses the understanding of the app interface. To avoid this, there is the animated tool to soften these state changes and make them transparent.


Mobile app animations can be conveniently classified into 4 major types according to the specific function that they execute:

  • Visual feedback
  • Logical transition
  • System status
  • First-time experience

Let’s take a closer look at all these types.


Indicate the users that your app works perfectly

Visual feedback is a focal point of the mobile UI/UX design. It makes users understand that the app responds and everything proceeds correctly.

Remember your old TV remote control? Press the button and see how the channel gets changed. Feel and look - two responses for the price of one.

Unfortunately, a cold smartphone glass couldn’t promise you any tactile feedback, although a visual feedback would be definitely.

Example: visual feedback is essential for the app when you need to inform users about the results of an operation. There are different ways of visual feedback implementation. In our case, there are flat buttons which are not getting pressed but getting filled with the white color by swipe. The major benefit of this kind of buttons is their simplicity - visual feedback is given, the app is active no distraction from content.


Make your app even more enjoyable for users

Modern mobile applications have a complex structure consisting of multiple navigation layers. Transitioning among layers should be smooth, simple and intuitive.

Animated transitions are the perfect way to ensure it. Working as intermediaries among different navigation layers, they fill the comprehension gaps and visually explain all the changes in the arrangement of elements on a screen, making it more transparent.

Example: the majority of the transitions in the mobile app are hierarchical. Our zoom-in example is not an exception. In this case, when a user selects an item he automatically сomes on the next navigation level, where the more detailed information is provided. Simple animation, used in this transition, maintains the context and makes the transition smooth and user-friendly.

Example: there are cases in the high-level complicated apps  when in order to use the screen real estate efficiently, a single action button should fulfill several functions. In our case, there is a classic burger icon that opens up providing a variety of hidden options.

Example: another example, very similar to the previous one, is the function change animation. It’s also based on the principle of the screen space saving. There is also a hamburger icon. The difference is that this button doesn’t provide additional options but change its meaning and transforms into a map-button on a press. There is an obvious connection between two buttons: one can’t exist while the other one is active.


Show the users that everything is under control

Most users are not aware of all the unseen processes occurring in the app when it’s launched and how much time do they all take. However, in certain cases, it’s necessary to be in control of the app’s progress and know in what stage exactly such processes as media files uploading, updating or sending are.

According to Mobyaffiliates, 71% of users expect a mobile app to load within 3 seconds and 63% of users would abandon an app that takes more than 5 seconds to load.

One of the oldest trick to distract a user’s mind from this weary wait on your app is to make a creative loading animation that would be worth of waiting.

Example: traditionally an animated element that shows the progress of the app’s loading process looks like a spinner or some sort of a rotating sphere. It seems like designers already have their own wheel, why to reinvent it? But turned out, that there is still an open field for the loading animation. Thus Skype mobile app uses the laterally reversed letter S in the infinite waving motion. Pleasant and simple visualization paired with the reference to its own logo is a nice artistic touch.

Example: do you know that feeling when you’re waiting for an important e-mail or message refreshing the page over and over and over and..? The worst! But it’s not that bad with an entertaining pull-to-refresh feature.

There are many options to rethink a pull-to-refresh animation which is essential to refresh the page and give a user an immediate visual feedback. The animated indicator shows that all the latest updates will be provided in a few seconds.

In our case, there is a Snapchat’s ghost-like icon that starts dancing and its background changes the colors as you pulling your chats down to update. That’s a perfect example of nice UI animation implementation that fulfills a system function and gamifies the app at the same time.


Guide your users effectively

The animation is a very useful tool to form a structured and intuitive mobile design. In the mobile app, each element has its own purpose and right implementation helps a user to understand how elements work.

The animation is often used as a hint to emphasize a certain menu option or to help a user to navigate in the app, especially if it’s new and has just been launched.

Example: As we already said, the animation is a perfect tool to illustrate how certain features in the app are supposed to operate. And our example proves it.

There is a simple one-time animated feature in the audiobook player Voice that highlights the main buttons. You can’t help but notice a fluctuating bubble around the navigation icon as in this case.

The number of your app’s users and therefore your profit is directly connected with the level of enjoyment that the people got while using with your app. And the comfortable and delightful animation is due in no small part.

We’re in Umbrella IT believe that animations for mobile apps in android and iOs are non-obvious, but a powerful tool, that is really able to have a beneficial impact on your business.

We could talk about mobile app animated mobile designs for hours (and sometimes we really do), so we couldn’t stop after three types. Check out our bonus type - custom animation.


Make the user experience memorable

All the previous types could have been combined in a group under the name “functional animation”, but now we came to grips with a real unicorn.

This type doesn’t fulfill any productive function except for the esthetical. But isn’t it the one that attracts so many new users and generates new leads?

Umbrella IT believes that unique animation is underrated however it’s the exact thing that makes a boring app so enjoyable and worth of using.

For example: a custom animation in this great example is obviously a temporary feature coincided with the festive season, which makes it even more unique and enjoyable. A small touch of the snow pile in the lower right-hand corner triggers the action: a little deer and a bear wearing a yellow scarf show up and it starts snowing.

So we share with you 5 types of animation in the mobile app design. And there is much more where it came from. But be aware, that animation and mobile design are just the case when plenty is the plague.

Inappropriate and complicated animation slows your app down and completely ruins the user experience.

Clear and creative animation makes your app unique and doubles the number of your app’s users.

Animate responsibly with Umbrella IT

Photo:, Unsplash