In web applications in the 1990s, it was pretty common to see animation (animated gifs, marquees, etc.) -- since then, the industry has pretty much established this as a no-no for (professional) websites.

My question is whether such a standard exists on the handheld platform. Admittedly, I'm a bit of a gadget luddite, so I don't have much experience with iPhones/iPods/Android-phones/Blackberries/etc. to know if such a thing exists or not.

  • Animation on android is at best an extra feature, unfortunately "early" (pre-2.2) android builds didn't support GIFs, and even in 2.2 you need a non-default browser to use them. Don't depend on them to work everywhere.
    – Ben Brocka
    Oct 24, 2011 at 13:14
  • @BenBrocka I don't have any intentions to use animated GIFs, but thanks for the tip.
    – ashes999
    Oct 24, 2011 at 14:16

2 Answers 2


As with anything, if its overused it get annoying. Still, animations certainly have their place, especially in transition between graphical states, effects that highlight an action or that call attention to an area of the ui. Etc. so, for example, animation that minimizes a window into some tray, if subtle and quick, can really serve to show the user "what happened" to his app and where he can find it again to reactivate it.


I think the overuse of animations can be very annoying for the user, however, I have not really seen any standards around.

I would have to say the same case applies to web applications as mobile applications: If the animation takes too long, or is excessive, such that the user becomes annoyed after seeing it again and again, then it should probably not be used.

A good idea would be to look at the animations within the operating system: Windows Phone 7, iOS and android. In particular look at the animations the developers have designed for the operating systems (not the applications) to gauge which sorts of animations are acceptable.

Good animation can add visual flair and this feeling of "attention to detail" for the user, so animation can be very nice, but make sure you don't annoy the user.

  • +1 good call: "If it's needed, use it, otherwise dump it if it's annoying."
    – ashes999
    Oct 24, 2011 at 1:27
  • I would add that it's fine to add animations even if they aren't determined to be absolutely necessary. There's nothing wrong with a touch of eye candy here and there, and long as it's fast and never gets in the way. (De facto 0.3 second fading transition is my bread and butter!)
    – user10242
    Jul 9, 2012 at 17:00

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