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A client asked me to add a cursor trail effect to their website. By trail effect I mean something like debris coming off the cursor as you move it around the page. Specifically, my client asked for bubbles (about 5 circles of varying size to be visible at any one time, and dissipate in the direction of the moving cursor).

I instinctively said "no that's not good UX/UI". Then I thought about it for a minute and realised I don't know why it's a bad idea, but it's just that I never ever see it on websites.

Are cursor trail effects frowned upon and, if so, then why?

I think that as long as the following elements are reasonably small, then they aren't annoying as much as they bring a nice/cool effect/visual feature.

The only thing I could think of is that the elements could get in the way of the cursor when it tries to click a link or a button, but I quickly solved that by pointer-events: none;

Thanks

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    What is the site's target audience? This could range anywhere from "playful visual flourish" to "totally unprofessional and tacky", depending on whether the audience is, like, six year old girls or middle-aged sales managers... – Daniel Beck Mar 22 '17 at 13:52
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The first thing to consider is that touch based device don't have cursors.

Aside from that if you can do the animation tastefully and without using too many resources from the browser, it could add something to the design. There have been several sites where the background mutates as the cursor moves through it.

For a good UX any cursor animation etc needs to not impede the user it what they are trying to do, so don't cause it to get in the way of content especially interaction elements.

Also remember that animations following a cursor might bring back horrible memories of badly designed myspace profiles from ~2004.

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