When users use an app or a website, different levels of effort and cognitive load are needed at each point of the user journey.

While various negative factors cause bad UX can potentially shorten a user journey, would it be possible that various types of animation like micro interactions and transitions could have a positive impact on lengthening the user journey?

This could be analogous to how certain games reward users with video clips, animation or virtual rewards at the end of completing a task or goal.

By the same logic, can providing small doses of delightful animation at the end of each task/goal lengthen a user's journey?

e.g. compare showing a registration confirmation animation at the end of a lengthy registration form, vs just showing a static confirmation message. would the version that had the animation have a positive effect on the rest of the users journey?

Has any research been done on this before or do you have any experience or examples that could relate to this?

1 Answer 1


Nielsen and Norman have an exhaustive article on the use of animations -- I suggest you read that.

There has been research done on loading screens and animations. For example, one study found that

a loading screen with an interactive animation will be perceived as faster and liked more than a loading screen with a progress bar or passive animation

If you look around the web, you can find lots of best practices for loading screens in particular -- e.g. this Smashing Magazine article.

As for the general case, it depends. If you want to lengthen a user's journey, the user will need reasons to stay and no reason to leave. If the animation gets in the way -- e.g. movement distracting from the main content, or animations that significantly slow people down when they need to be productive -- the user could get frustrated and leave because the animations are preventing her from being effective. If the animation doesn't get in the way and evokes delight -- e.g. a cute loading indicator, as mentioned above -- it could easily enhance the experience. And if an animation serves as an affordance -- e.g. a transition that indicates where something came form -- then you're more likely to keep your user simply because of better usability.

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