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How to create mobile UI animations that boost usability and bring app interfaces to life - 5 great mobile UI examples to inspire your prototyping

Mobile animation can make a web or mobile app pop. Learn these 5 must know UI animations and play with our 3 free downloadable examples

Animated transitions can make the difference between a great mobile app and one that’s just meh. Transitions – those little animations that make UI elements visible or invisible – often go unnoticed, but when executed right they contribute to a seamless user experience. So let us take a look at 5 inspiring examples of mobile animation and 3 examples you can download and play with yourself in Justinmind!

All it takes is a little action here, a trigger there and, voila, you’ve got yourself some powerful mobile animations. Let’s read to find out more.

Automatic slideshows

You know when you download a mobile app and before you get to the goods, you make your way through an onboarding experience or walkthrough?  This advanced tutorial will show you how to create an automatic slideshow to do just that.

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A walkthrough is where you’ll be given information about the app, key functionalities or even tips and tricks. Knowing how to rustle up a walkthrough is a handy skill to have in your UX design armory and are vital as mobile apps become more complex in design and architecture.

John Gruber wrote that a user should be able to figure out how to use an app “just by looking at it” but there are good reasons for using a walkthrough. It can be that an app is intuitive for one user but complex for another. Walkthroughs help to strike a balance, in this instance.


Download the free automatic slideshow example now

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Loading animation

Informing your users and giving them a sense of control can contribute to a better user experience. Jakob Nielsen’s heuristics outline a few guidelines which help boost the user interface design and one of those is visibility of system status – a great way to make system status visible is through loading animations. In Justinmind, you can add loading animations by using dynamic panels and creating variables to allow for loops.

Imagine submitting a form – you’d expect to see a loading animation, or some sort of signal that something is happening. Nobody wants to be left in the user experience wilderness and that’s why giving your users feedback can assuage their anxiety. When you can use loading animations when users first open an app – as a way to tell them that it’s loading up their information.

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Screen flow validation

If you want to create a mobile experience that doesn’t require the user to scroll, go with screen flow validation. When the user inputs something, the next screen slides in negating the need for the user to scroll. With some transition effects and mobile gestures, you can recreate a screen validation form in a few simple steps with Justinmind.

Screen flow validation takes advantage of mobile animation by flowing to the next screen when the user has input the requested information. You might see screen flow validations on a sign-up form when you first download and open an app or in mobile banking.


Download the free screen flow validation example here

Download Free


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Interactive contact list

A contact list is another opportunity to use some mobile interaction. Contact lists aren’t traditionally the most interesting part of UX design, however, in Justinmind you can add a touch of interactivity to make the contact list more dynamic by adding some extra options into the list.

In Justinmind, you can learn how to create an interactive contact list using dynamic panels and table widgets. The interactive part is when you add Events, like the ‘On Slide Left’ event, which lets users swipe the contact in the contact list to reveal options such as share or favorite.


Download the free interactive contact list example here

Download free


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Accordions

When it comes to progressive disclosure, an accordion is your best friend. Accordions are a versatile little design pattern that can reduce the workload and minimize cognitive overload. If you are designing a mobile app and have too much information – such as a lot of content, then placing that information in an accordion for users to click is a useful way to get display more information without using up precious real estate.

Designing an accordion in Justinmind isn’t rocket science, either. With a few simple steps, a couple of dynamic panels, and a few events you’ll have your accordion up and running in no time.

What are mobile UI animations for?

Animated transitions signal a change of state to the user. That can mean signalling a movement in the navigation flow, task completion, introduction or subtraction of on-screen UI elements, and changing position in the interface hierarchy. Designer Davey Heuser helpfully explains animated transitions in terms of movie sound-effects: “It’s not peculiar to use animations and sound effects in movies when someone goes through a time machine, so it’s only natural to use this in your interface as well.” And that’s where animated transitions come in handy.

“It’s not peculiar to use animations and sound effects in movies when someone goes through a time machine, so it’s only natural to use this in your interface as well.”

What makes a good mobile UI animation?

Software developer and UX influencer Nick Babich succinctly defines what separates a good animated transition from a bad one in his post Animation in Mobile UX Design:

Effective animated transitions:

  • Have a clear purpose
  • Reduce cognitive load
  • Establish spatial relationships
  • Prevent change blindness
  • Bring an interface to life

Badly designed animated transitions, on the other hand:

  • Confuse the user
  • Complicate the interface unnecessarily
  • Are random and without purpose

Animated transitions can make mobile UIs more dynamic, engaging and user-friendly. But use them incorrectly and they will have a detrimental impact on both user experience and conversions.

Prototyping mobile UI animations – the takeaway

Animated mobile transitions can be charming, useful and user-centric. They guide users through a mobile app experience and ensure that both user goals and conversion goals are catered to. But mobile UI designers have to resist the temptation to animate for mobile animation’s sake. Animations should always be relevant, targeted and with a purpose. That way, your UI will be as effective as these inspiring examples of animated mobile transitions. With our

Cassandra is Marketing Lead at Justinmind

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