What are main disadvantages of user interface animation and, in particular, of decorative animation, and how to keep a balance in the UI?

As introduction, I think the animations are an useful tool and I think it is clear that we could define several groups of animation that have clear benefits, like: microinteractions, animations showing the path of the process and explanatory animations.

Now, what about decorative animation?

Some of the disadvantages could be: slow loading, overloading the screen/page, distraction.

What do you think? When decorative animation is a good use and it is good or bad for UX?

Update: Because in the comments was a question regarding the definition of decorative animation, I'd like to share with you an explanation that I liked:

The word “decorative” says it all. The main purpose of decorative animations is to attract people. This intends to develop user interface designs that are original and appealing to the eyes. It gives life to the interfaces as well as presents it in a more interesting form to the viewer though it will not contain any important features to give a spark to an interaction process. The main objective is to grab user’s attention towards the image that stands apart from the rest.

  • What do you mean by decorative animation? Can you cite an example?
    – ikartik90
    Feb 15, 2017 at 5:42
  • By decorative animation, I understand an animation that has the main and maybe the only purpose to be decorative, an animated illustration. Feb 15, 2017 at 6:20
  • @KartikIyer Does it make sense now? Feb 15, 2017 at 6:29
  • Are you asking just about animations right? not transitions.
    – Alvaro
    Feb 15, 2017 at 8:59

1 Answer 1


I think above all animation should have purpose and style.
Some websites have gone overboard and added all the parallax animation they could fit on their website. Elements that swoop in from the right and the left and text that fades in. They lost all purpose and even style wise, they are unnecessary.

Animation should be there to improve on the context, to show the user what is happening when he/she interacts with something.

I could say a lot more on this topic, but there is someone who has said it all already.
You should look at what Val Head has said and written. She has made web animation her expertise and would be the best person to answer your question.

I recommend watching this 45min video:


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