Working on animation and interaction for an eCommerce app, what should I consider when using how variables like springiness, friction, elasticity.

How will various combinations of these effect to the overall experience of the app.

When browsing a catalog for example.? Would this part of an interaction model?
Reference: Defining an Interaction Model

To make things a bit more clear, let's put these variables like springiness, friction, elasticity in a real world metaphor, like walking on a mattress or a slightly slippery surface. while in the real world this might be a hindrance to movement, on an app this can provide a delightful experience if done right. A feeling of skating on the ui or bouncing on a cushion. does this make sense or does this sound whack!?

1 Answer 1


It makes sense as long as there is a connection between these variables and the affordances you use.

If you use these effects only for the sake of impressing your user, it won't lead to anywhere, but to an unnecessary complexity. There must be a purpose behind everything you put in value, including these features which pertain to HCI, if you think about it.

As you stated above, it's all about a "real world metaphor". People will be humans no matter how abstract technological breakthroughs get. They need to touch, feel and relate to familiar things in order to find their way in the digital universe.

That is why a truly user-centered approach should delve into this aspect, taking into account affordances at all levels of human perception:

"... just by looking at a glass we can determine that the object affords holding liquid, so we can quench our thirst."

I think in the virtual world affordances work even the other way around. Certain characteristics and functions may evoke specific objects and actions.

For example, if you developed an application that removes clusters of unnecessary information from a database, you can create an effect of resistance when pushing a slider which performs that action. It would make sense. When you push a pile of garbage out of the door, the garbage resists. It's called inertia.

Therefore, you could use those variables (springiness, friction, elasticity), but integrate them in something that makes sense for the user, so that they enhance his/her understanding of your presuppositions.

"The user interface is as much a communication tool as it is an interactive display. The interface has to communicate its interactivity through understandable cues. These cues are called affordances."

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