The Post Telling What Motion in Web Design Is

There is no need to explore difficult techniques to make a website attractive. For now it’s quite enough to be a skilled designer that knows his job well, because in this case you should know about such a tricky thing as motion in web design. Don't grasp much? Then, this post is exactly for you.

This method appeared in web design long ago, and it’s not really surprising since such expedients were well-known long before the internet and graphical user interface occurred: in classical design and visual art in general. It won't be amiss to outline Étienne-Jules Marey, who’s pioneering in photography revolved around the movement exploring. Of course, lately these experimentations resulted in intensive cinematography development. However, the artists never left the motion in permanent visual depiction – for example below you can watch the interesting painting of Marcel Duchamp, who abstractly showed the man going the stairs (according to the art critics). For me it’s very interesting to watch the evolution of motion and check the result in modern spheres of visual crafts.

So, let’s also become critics a bit – in web design arts - and determine a definition of the subject in this context:

Motion is an artistic mean, which creates the illusion of the depicted object moving.

In real life motion needs at least couple moments to take place. The difference of the subject in design excludes the duration aspect and gives an opportunity to perceive the motion as constant object, apart from the time dimension. The other point - motion in web design is just a 2D simulacrum of 3D reality. But who in our time of the internet virtuality would dare to state the imitation is 100% better than reality?

Inspired by Marey's photos, some artists saw the motion in such way. Marcel Duchamp - Nude Descending a Staircase

The diversity of ways for motion creating is undeniable. First of all, you can take a picture of an object moving. Rather similar way – you can paint it. Also the bunch of appropriate effects exists: shadowing, lighting, blurring, diming, using elliptical impress and contrast colors. Sometimes all the action is composed by Photoshop only.

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Classification always grants with doubts...

...Because measuring needs focusing on certain features while totally ignoring the rest. Nevertheless, the needfulness of classification for novices is indisputable – a cognizant person’s point of view leads to development of the own understanding of a percipient. One important thing to remember: no sample of motion picture fits into any of the types completely. So, here's the classification of motion itself:


motion in web designUnder “direction” I mean the hint of the object moving in definite direction. It can be demonstrated in quite different and original ways. The most widespread methods: the object was captured while really moving (or simulating moving) the certain way; the visualization is achieved by symbols such as arrows, stacking frames etc. Don’t forget about the direction of the look – a viewer is most likely follows the same eye pattern (it has been successfully used in marketing for many years). Direction is probably the most wide-used type of motion.


motion in web design"London Bridge Is Falling Down" type. Simultaneously scary and exciting – those who have experienced something like skydiving, bungee jumping or at least jumping into water from a height would get it. The impress is often improved with different blur effects. But the gravity is not only about the falling: the type also includes the contraposition actions going up. For instance, photos with happy jumping people are quite well-known. By the way, jumping presents unusual flying effect.


motion in web designIn this case the feel of action is caused by empathy to the object implying to lose the balance. Everyone has the vestibular system, so well-depicted disbalance can provoke anxiety in any viewer's mind.

All of aforementioned points can be improved with variety of methods. We shouldn’t forget about typography that's so inherent for web design: motion impression can be strengthened with the text, call-to-action and through imitating the concept on the image. The other great thing is depth effect – it qualitatively defines the object increasing the impression of action for the viewer.

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And it’s not the end of the list. Anyway, the tips for creating motion in web design are not a topic of this post, so I must finish. But don’t worry – I’m going to write the sequel article that will provide with useful tuition and remarks regarding the techniques.


Your commenting would speed up the release.

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Image credits:
Abstract background by Shutterstock
Abstract retro color arrows background by Shutterstock
Abstract Background vector illustration by Shutterstock
Abstract background by Shutterstock

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Art Rivera

Art is one of those creative writers sharing insightful articles at MonsterPost.

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