Top 13 website animations: excellent examples and current trends

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12 Apr
2024
12 Apr
2024
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You’ve only got a few minutes (or even seconds!) to make an impression online. People hop onto websites and apps, and if nothing intriguing catches their eye, they’re gone just as fast. Sure, design is important, but animation — that’s your sweet bonus to make users come, stay, and return.

Adding animation to your site means bringing everything to life. This way, viewers move slowly from page-to-page captivated by the dance of interactive elements. But we’re not just talking about fancy scrolls here. There’s a whole world of animations out there that deserve the spotlight. And if you’re stuck in a creative rut, this article will spark your inspiration. Now, let’s wait no more — join us as we explore amazing web animations that are too good to miss!

Animation in web design: what is it?

Animations make a website feel more like a story than a bunch of pages by adding motion to various elements. It’s the magic touch that brings graphics, text, and images to life, creating an engaging and dynamic experience for your users. In web design, interactive elements can range from a subtle hover effect that highlights a button to a full-page transition that takes you on a visual journey. They add an extra layer of engagement to your platform, making it interesting to explore. 

Types of website animation

To turn your website into an interactive story, there’s a diverse range of animation styles and techniques. These visual treats have their own unique way of capturing user attention while conveying information creatively.

Now, prepare yourself to be amazed, as we’re going to take a closer look at the various types of website animation.

1. Loading 

Loading animations are the first touchpoint of interaction a user has with your website. Far from being just a spinning wheel or a progress bar, they can be creatively designed to keep viewers engaged and interested while they wait. 

Plus, loading animations serve a practical purpose beyond aesthetics. They let users know that the site is working as expected and content is on its way. 

In a world where we all expect things to happen at lightning speed, they give a nod to say, “Hang tight, the good stuff is coming!” By weaving in your brand’s style or a dash of humor, these animations can turn a brief pause into a chance to connect and impress.

Loading animation for ETH Warsaw Website by Michał Adamski

2. Welcoming animations

Welcoming animations are your website’s friendly handshake or a warm “hello.” These interactive elements pop up right when users enter your site, offering a delightful introduction to what you’re all about. Whether it’s a playful character waving, a creative visual that unfolds your brand story, or an elegant display of your logo, these animations can make a memorable first impression.

When done right, welcoming animations can create a connection in an instant, captivating users and drawing them deeper into your site.
Welcoming animation design by Abron Studio

3. Hover animation

Hover animations add interactivity, making your website fun to explore. These little surprises happen when a user hovers their cursor over elements like buttons, links, or images. Whether it’s a button that changes color, text that pops up, or an image that comes to life, these animations add a playful touch to your site, encouraging users to click and discover more. In addition to their aesthetic appeal, hover animations improve usability. They clarify what’s clickable and what’s not, removing guesswork for the user.

Hover animations example made by Halo Lab

4. Scrolling

To bring a dynamic twist to the way users experience your website, many designers use scrolling animations. As visitors move down your page, these animations kick in, making your content pop and come to life. With each scroll, something new and exciting appears, keeping users hooked and curious about what’s next. These animations help break down your content, making it easier and more enjoyable to absorb. They’re helpful guides, pointing out the important stuff as users make their way through your site.

Scrolling animations with a comfortable speed by tubik

5. Navigation

When you click on a menu or a link, navigation animations can transform a simple action into a smooth experience. They’re like your site’s GPS, guiding users from one place to another. It can be menus that unfold elegantly or transitions between pages that are as smooth as flipping through a book. Also, these interactions help users understand where they are on your site and how to get where they want to go. These animations reduce confusion and create a flow that feels natural and intuitive.

Navigation animations for the Awwwards voting website by tubik

6. Dynamic menus

Dynamic menus are all about adding an interactive and responsive element to your website’s navigation. They adapt and change based on user interaction, making the process of finding information more fun. Examples include a menu that expands with animated options when hovered over or one that reorganizes itself based on the user’s journey. 

Dynamic menus offer a smarter way to guide visitors through your site.
Clean and dynamic menu by Anatoly Tsybulsky

7. Image galleries

When it comes to showing off images on your website, you can use different methods to frame them. Image galleries are an interesting way of showcasing products, projects, or portfolios. With animations, you can turn a simple series of photos into a visual journey. These can be images that glide smoothly across the screen or photos that pop up and expand with just a click. All in all, you bring a bit of motion and life to your visual stories. They draw users in and make them want to see every picture you’ve got to show.

Visual story through an image gallery designed by Adam Roberts

8. Accent animation

Accent animations are the little touches that make a big difference on your website. They’re the final polish that gives your site its unique personality. These animations are often subtle — a button that gently pulses to draw attention, a small graphic that’s activated when you hover, or text that moves slightly as you scroll. They’re not the main show, but they add a layer of finesse and attention to detail that sets your site apart.

What’s great about accent animations is how they enhance the overall feel of your website without overwhelming it. They are there to complement, not to dominate. It’s these little animated nuances that can make your website feel more lively and interactive. They quietly work in the background, adding that extra touch of charm and sophistication.

Roman Salo’s design choice with well-placed accent animations

9. Skeleton screens

Skeleton screens are a clever way to keep users engaged while they wait for content to load. Instead of staring at a blank screen or a loading spinner, users see a bare-bones outline of the upcoming content. It’s getting a sneak peek of the page layout before all the details fill in. These animations provide a sense of progress and anticipation, making the wait feel shorter and less frustrating.

The beauty of skeleton screens lies in their simplicity and effectiveness. They subtly communicate that the website is working hard to load the content, keeping users informed and patient. By offering a glimpse of what’s to come, skeleton screens reduce uncertainty and improve the user experience during loading times. It’s a smart way to maintain user interest and reduce bounce rates caused by longer loading times.

Skeleton screens with a clean and minimal layout by Anna Helyk

10. Visual feedback

Visual feedback is a communication between your website and its users. It’s the way your site acknowledges user actions, whether it’s a form submission, a button click, or an error message. These animations can range from a simple color change to a more complex sequence that confirms an action or guides the user to the next step. It’s like your website is having a conversation with the user, letting them know what’s happening and what to do next.

Catchy visual feedback design by Amro

11. Dynamic backgrounds

Dynamic backgrounds add depth and motion to your website. They’re the moving scenes or patterns that operate behind your main content, adding a touch of liveliness without distracting from the important stuff. Whether it’s a subtle animation like gently drifting shapes or a more complex scene like a slowly changing landscape, dynamic backgrounds create an immersive atmosphere for your visitors.

Dynamic backgrounds set the mood and tone of your website. They can make a page feel more calming, energetic, or cutting-edge, depending on the style you choose.
Dynamic background solution by Tomasz Mazurczak

12. Whole page motion

Whole page motion takes animation to a new level, transforming your entire website into a dynamic, interactive canvas. This type of animation involves moving the entire page or large sections of it, creating a striking visual impact. 

It can be a page that shifts perspective as you scroll or sections that move in unison to create a narrative flow. Whatever you opt for, this kind of animation captivates users with its bold and immersive approach.

Whole page motion can be especially powerful for storytelling, product showcases, or creating an emotional connection with your audience. It opens opportunities to explore your website in a way that static pages simply can’t match.

Engaging whole page motion design by obys

13. Storytelling

Storytelling animations are powerful for bringing your brand’s narrative to life on your website. These animations weave together visuals, motion, and text to tell your story in an engaging and compelling way. The magic of storytelling animations lies in their ability to connect with users on an emotional level. They turn facts and information into a narrative that’s relatable and memorable. Examples include an animated timeline, a character-led journey, or a series of animated infographics, all to draw users into your world and keep them hooked.

Storytelling animations for emotional connections by Outcrowd

Pros and cons of web animation

Moving onto the next crucial topic, let’s dissect the pros and cons of web animation. Just like any artistic or technical choice, animations can significantly enhance the user experience, but they also come with potential drawbacks that need careful consideration.

Among the advantages, we can highlight:

On the bright side, web animations are a game-changer when it comes to user engagement. They can transform a static webpage into an immersive storytelling experience. Through clever use of motion, your website becomes a dynamic canvas that interacts with your audience. Animations guide users through your site, subtly pointing them towards important content or calls to action. You create a user-friendly experience that intuitively flows from one point to the next.

As for the disadvantages, we can point to:

One downside of web animation is the potential impact on your website’s performance. Heavy animations can slow down load times, which is a big no-no in today’s fast-paced digital world. A slow website can lead to higher bounce rates, as visitors might get frustrated and leave before they even see what you have to offer. Additionally, animations can be problematic for users with certain disabilities, and not providing options to reduce or disable them can lead to an exclusionary experience.

Original web animation examples

Sometimes, it’s a headache for designers to come up with eye-catching web animations that make users say, “wow.” Everyone wants to stand out amidst thousands, if not millions, of possibilities, and this is where the challenge becomes a tricky one. If you’re on the lookout for ideas that can turn your concepts into stunning realities, you’re in luck. Here, we’ve lined up some exceptional examples of web animations. So, let’s not waste any time and go into the details.

The Variable

The Variable’s site showcases a brilliant use of whole page motion animation that reflects the agency’s creativity and innovative approach. As soon as you enter the website, you’re greeted with bold, dynamic text animations that immediately grab your attention. Navigating through the site, you’ll notice a variety of interactive elements. And what’s more — on every page of the website, you are accompanied by a catchy animated transition that encourages you to explore The Variable.

The Variable transforms static web pages into dynamic narratives

Happy

The welcoming animation on Happy’s website is a delightful example of how to engage visitors right from their first interaction with the site. As you land on the homepage, you’re greeted with a vibrant and playful animation that seems to dance on the screen, exuding a sense of joy and energy. The use of bright colors, fluid movements, and engaging graphics in the welcoming animation effectively sets the tone for the entire website.

Happy’s welcoming animation brings a burst of joy to your screen

Fensea

The Fensea website employs subtle yet impactful accent animations that highlight their body care products and emphasize the benefits of sea salt for the skin, hair, and overall well-being. The site uses subtle motion animations with a pleasant menthol color to create a visually appealing user experience. These animations draw attention to key product features and the natural ingredients used in Fensea formulations.

Fensea’s background animation celebrates the power of sea salt

Halo Lab

The scrolling animations on the Halo Lab website are a standout feature, creating an immersive and interactive user experience. As you scroll through the site, you’re treated to a dynamic display of content that unfolds in a visually captivating way. The animations activate as you move down the page, with elements smoothly transitioning into view. This includes text that elegantly appears, images that slide in or expand, and background elements that subtly change.

Halo Lab’s image galleries are about showcasing the team’s expertise

Catalyze AI

The Catalyze AI website employs hover animations to create an engaging and interactive user experience. Buttons, links, and image elements on the Catalyze AI site come to life with hover animations. For example, buttons might change color or grow slightly in size, providing immediate visual feedback and encouraging further interaction. Images and graphics may reveal additional details or change perspective, creating a dynamic and interactive feel.

Catalyze AI’s dynamic menus invite you to interact and discover more

Lips Love

The dynamic background of the Lips Love website enhances the storytelling and immersive experience. The website features a video background that continues to play while users can scroll through text overlaying the video. This creates a captivating, high-quality visual experience that immediately engages visitors.

Lips Love shows the art of makeup through accent animations

Alukaze

The Alukaze website features a straightforward and user-friendly navigation system, offering clear sections for “About,” “System Series,” and “Contact.” This navigation structure is anchored, facilitating easy access to detailed information about the company, its high-quality aluminum systems, and how to get in touch with them. The transitions between sections are smooth, providing a cohesive and engaging journey with a single click.

Alukaze’s intuitive and dynamic navigation guides your journey

The best tools for website animation

When it comes to crafting those eye-catching animations for your website, the right tools are your creative arsenal. If you’re looking to add a subtle hover effect, a complex animated sequence, or anything in between, these instruments will empower you to unleash your creativity and captivate your audience like never before. Read on to find out the top tools that are shaping the future of website animation.

JavaScript libraries

JavaScript libraries offer a vast array of options for creating smooth, interactive, and responsive animations. These libraries, such as GreenSock Animation Platform (GSAP), Three.js, and Anime.js, provide web designers and developers with a powerful toolkit to breathe life into their web pages. With these libraries, animating HTML, SVG, and CSS properties becomes an effortless task, allowing for complex animations that are both fluid and efficient.

One of the significant advantages of using JavaScript libraries is their flexibility and control. You can craft custom animations that are not just pretty but also resonate with how your users interact with your site. This means a more engaging, tailored experience for your audience. 

However, one must consider the learning curve associated with these libraries. Getting the hang of these libraries means getting cozy with JavaScript, which can be a bit daunting if you’re just starting out. And remember, too much of a good thing can be a bit much — overdoing animations can slow down your site. But if you’re up for the challenge, these JavaScript libraries are your ticket to animation magic on the web!

Website builders without coding

If you’re not a coding whiz but still want to create animations that pop, website builders let you animate without a single line of code. We’re talking about user-friendly platforms like Wix, Squarespace, and Webflow. They come with intuitive drag-and-drop interfaces, making it super easy to add animated elements to your site. These builders have got you covered with pre-designed animation options that you can customize to fit your style.

But, as with everything, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. While these website builders are fantastic for simplicity and ease of use, they do have limitations in terms of customization and flexibility. You might find yourself restricted to the animation options they offer, which means your creativity could hit a bit of a wall. Nevertheless, these tools are all about making animation accessible and fun, even if you’re just starting out in the world of web design.

3D animation tools

Once you look to add an extra dimension (quite literally) to your web animations, try to use 3D animation tools. Here, instruments like Blender, Maya, and Cinema 4D help you create stunning 3D models and animations that can take your website to a whole new level of immersion and interactivity. Now, the upsides of using 3D animation tools are pretty clear — they offer unparalleled visual depth and engagement. You can create anything from simple 3D icons to complex scenes that tell a story. 

However, there’s a flip side. These tools require a good deal of time and effort to master. They’re not exactly beginner-friendly and can be quite resource-intensive, meaning they might demand a lot from your computer. Also, be mindful of how these heavier animations impact your website’s loading times and performance. But if you’re willing to climb the learning curve and have the right resources, exploring 3D animation can transform your website into a three-dimensional experience that’s hard to forget.

Technologies for creating web animation

As moving deeper into the world of web animation, it’s crucial to understand the various technologies that make these dynamic visuals possible. This is where we blend art with tech, using cutting-edge tools and techniques to craft great animations. 

The technologies at our disposal are as diverse as they are powerful, and hey, if you’re particularly interested in how to create scroll animations that keep users hooked, you’re in for a treat. Stay tuned as we go on to the tech behind the magic, unraveling the secrets of web animation one pixel at a time.

CSS

With CSS, you can animate pretty much anything that’s part of your webpage — from subtle hover effects on buttons to eye-catching transitions and keyframe animations. It’s adding that extra flair and interactivity to your site without bogging it down. The beauty of CSS lies in its ease of use and wide browser support, making it a go-to choice for web animators of all skill levels. But keep in mind, while CSS is great for simpler, more lightweight animations, it might not be the best pick for more complex or interactive animations. 

JavaScript

JavaScript steps in where CSS leaves off, offering a level of interactivity and complexity that can really bring a website to life. You can build animations that respond to user interactions like clicks, scrolls, and mouse movements, making the website feel more like an interactive journey rather than a static page. It’s incredibly versatile, with libraries like GreenSock (GSAP), Three.js, and Velocity.js expanding its potential. However, JavaScript demands a stronger coding background and can impact website performance if not optimized. 

SVG

SVG is a powerful tool for creating crisp, scalable, and interactive web animations. As vector-based graphics, SVGs maintain their quality at any scale, making them ideal for responsive design. You can animate anything from basic shapes to complex illustrations, with the flexibility of using CSS and JavaScript for dynamic effects. SVG animations offer sharp, high-quality visuals that are perfect for detailed graphical work. While they are generally lightweight, complex SVG animations can be demanding on performance, particularly in older browsers or less powerful devices. 

SVG brings a combination of visual elegance and technical prowess to web animation.

Canvas

The HTML5 Canvas element is a powerhouse for creating intricate and interactive web animations. It’s a digital canvas where you can draw and animate everything from simple shapes to complex, interactive games and visualizations. With Canvas, you’re working directly with pixels, giving you a vast playground for creativity and control. It’s perfect for when you need more than just basic animations — think particle effects, real-time graphics, and custom interactive experiences. 

WebGL

WebGL takes web animation into the realm of 3D and complex 2D graphics, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in a browser. It’s a JavaScript API that allows you to render interactive 3D and 2D graphics without the need for plugins. WebGL is ideal for creating highly detailed and immersive animations, such as 3D models, advanced data visualizations, and interactive gaming experiences. Its power lies in leveraging the capabilities of a user’s graphics card, resulting in smooth and complex animations.

Innovations with web animation

As we wrap up this exploration of web animation, it’s evident that the possibilities are as vast as your imagination. There’s a whole universe of options to explore, and among them, you’ll exactly find that sweet spot. So, as you start your next web project, remember that with the right tools, a dash of creativity, and a little help from Halo Lab experts, you can create a website that truly stands out in the digital crowd.

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