Designing the user interface: Text, colour, images, moving images and sound
Designing the user interface: Text, colour, images, moving images and sound

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Designing the user interface: Text, colour, images, moving images and sound

1.5.2 Using animation to good effect

You can use animation for the following purposes.

  • To illustrate movement. An example of this would be an educational program that teaches about the muscles a horse uses when it runs.

  • To provide dynamic feedback. For example, in some operating systems when you are copying a number of files, an animation appears that illustrates files flying from one folder to another. This is dynamic feedback, confirming that something is happening.

  • To attract attention. For example, an advertisement on a web page may include some movement in order to attract the user's attention. This can become a visual irritant.

  • To show that the computer system is operating. Dynamic screen savers are the most obvious example of this technique. Some kiosks simulate a user operating the system. This draws the attention of potential users and shows some of the functionality of the system.

Thus, animation is important and useful, but you should only use it when absolutely necessary.

Exercise 2

Timing: 0 hours 10 minutes

It takes a few seconds for mobile telephones to connect to the network. This causes some users to become anxious, as they think the telephone is not working. Draw an animation to be used on the screen that indicates that the telephone is trying to establish the connection. You can use a drawing or animation program, or simply sketch on paper.


I found this quite difficult, as the screen is likely to be small and the concept is quite abstract. However, the time taken to connect can be disconcertingly long, so an animation could be reassuring. Figure 10 shows an animation of a telephone and a mobile telephone aerial, with arrows moving from the telephone to the aerial.

This will only be effective if users can recognise the images.

Figure 10 An animation for a mobile telephone

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371