The days of static websites are long gone. Today’s users expect an interactive and engaging experience when they visit a website. Motion design is one of the best ways to create that kind of experience. However, if you’re working on a web design project that involves any kind of animation or motion, you’re going to need the right tools to get the job done.
Fortunately, there are a number of great options available, ranging from simple to complex. In this article, professionals from our digital marketing agency will take a look at seven of the best tools for motion design UI, and quickly get you through emerging motion web design trends you can use to your advantage when trying to create a unique user experience for your website visitors.
Table of Contents
- What is motion design?
- Is motion design the next big thing in 2023?
- 5 ways how can motion design help you create better websites
- The best tools for Motion design UI
What is motion design?
Motion design is a relatively new field that combines the best of graphic design and animation. Motion designers inject life into static graphical components by adding animations and movements. This way, they create digital experiences that are both visually stunning and interactive. Motion designers’ work is often seen in web design, but can also be used in advertising, film, and television.
In the web design industry, motion design refers to the use of animated elements on websites and apps designed to improve the user experience by adding visual interest, guiding the user’s eye, and conveying a brand’s story in a more powerful way. It can be used for anything – from explainer videos to website backgrounds.
Is motion design the next big thing in 2023?
Experienced web designers know that trends can come and go in the blink of an eye. What was popular last year may be out of style by next year. To stay ahead of the curve, you need to pay close attention to emerging web design trends. And motion design is a trend that looks like it’s here to stay in 2023.
As it is becoming increasingly hard to keep website visitors’ attention due to information overload in the modern world – companies will look for ways to convey their messages in the simplest possible manner. Online businesses that utilize animation motion graphics can gain a competitive edge and connect with potential customers with much less friction than those that stick only to textual forms and static images. Considering this, it is safe to conclude that if you are running an eCommerce website, investing effort into perfecting your motion design systems can help you make your online store stand out, boost the shopping experience for potential customers – and, therefore, achieve higher conversion rates.
Keep in mind that animation in web design will not be a surprise factor that helps you win visitors for much longer – it will soon become an expectation people have before arriving at your website. You should start planning the strategy for implementing motion design components in your company’s digital space before it’s too late. And finding the best animation tools for motion design is a step you can’t afford to skip if you are looking for new ways to promote your products online.
How can motion design help you create better websites?
One of the main challenges you have to face as a web designer is finding ways to keep your websites looking fresh. With so many companies trying to achieve the same goal, it can be easy to get stuck in a rut. Fortunately, trying out new techniques such as motion design might be the answer to your problems. So, before moving on to the best motion design UI tools – let’s explore some of the popular ways website owners use motion design systems today to make their brand stand out online:
Building animations to make transitions smoother on mobile screens
Transitions between web pages are essential because they help create a smooth and seamless user experience on mobile devices. When done correctly, transitions can guide users through your website effortlessly, helping them to easily find the information they need. Well-designed transitions will also add a sense of uniqueness to your website and make it memorable for your visitors. However, when done poorly, transitions can be confusing and frustrating, leading users to abandon your site.
That’s why you need to pay close attention to mobile landing page best practices and invest more effort into creating transition animations than simply adding curtain opener motion in the hope that it won’t cause a poor user experience. Experiment with moving the cards in different directions, with various types of animations, and with the industry standard durations to find the one that perfectly suits your brand image. Experienced web designers also understand the importance of adding animation to the page loading screen for keeping users interested in further exploring the website.
Utilizing motion design to quickly provide feedback to users
Have you ever witnessed a submit button that changes shape, color, and message upon clicking on it? That’s a simple way to use motion design for providing feedback to users in a way that is both visually appealing and informative. Actually, landing page stats suggest that by making forms on your website more aesthetically pleasing you can drastically improve the conversion rates.
Animations can help you to enhance your interaction design work by allowing you to guide users through complex processes or tasks, and provide them with information that they might otherwise miss. To secure an amazing user experience, you can use motion design to emphasize important points, build flow on your website, initiate chat, and similar. Such micro-interactions are a very popular choice today in the web design industry.
Adding more dimensions to your design
Design is more than just how something looks. It’s also how it functions and how it makes people feel. Motion design is a powerful tool that can take your design to the next level. It can add dimensionality, depth, and emotion to your work. For example, you can make components of your UI feel more realistic by adding multiple interactive sides to them. Your visitors will feel like they are interacting with real-life objects, which usually results in a much better user experience.
Using Parallax motion to keep website visitors focused
Parallax motion is a great way to keep users engaged on your website. It’s a simple technique that can have a big impact. By moving elements on the page at different speeds, you can create an illusion of depth that keeps users interested. This effect is created by making the background images move more slowly than the foreground images, giving the impression that the viewer is looking into a three-dimensional space. When creating Parallax motion for your UI, start with the industry standard durations and then adjust it accordingly to achieve desired effects.
Adding personality to your brand with motion design
Your brand is more than just your logo or color scheme. It’s the overall feeling that people get when they interact with your company. That’s why it’s important to have a well-rounded approach to branding, and that includes motion design. It allows you to use moving images that convey a message or tell a story to set a specific “tone” on your website. Whether you want your visitors to perceive your brand as professional, playful, fun, youthful, or in any other way – you can utilize motion design to evoke specific emotions within your target audience and get closer to that goal.
Top 7 tools for Motion design UI
Now that we’ve discussed the impact motion design can have on the success of your website, we understand that creating a motion design UI might still sound like a daunting task if you don’t know which software you can use to create stunning animation motion graphics for your audience. So let’s check on some of the best tools you can utilize to add a fresh look and feel to your custom WordPress website design:
1. Adobe After Effects
Considering all of Adobe Effects’ features and animation tools, it shouldn’t be a surprise that it is the most popular animation motion graphics software among web design agencies. It is widely used for creating visual effects for TV, film, video, and websites.
Adobe After Effects Pros include:
- You’ll get 100GB of cloud storage
- Works smoothly with other Adobe programs, such as Adobe XD, Adobe Fonts, Adobe Portfolio, Adobe Spark, and more
- It is available on both Windows and Mac operating systems
- Provides a variety of animations and transitions
- Intuitive interface
As you can see, Adobe After Effects can be a very useful tool for realizing your website hero ideas that include animation motion graphics. However, a variety of features make it a complex program that can be difficult to master – so only experienced designers might be able to fully utilize its potential. Another factor worth mentioning is that this program can be very heavy for your PC, as it consumes a lot of RAM during the rendering process. If your system specifications are low, arm yourself with patience when trying to preview your Adobe Effects animations.
The good news is that you can choose a free 30-day trial to find out whether Adobe After Effects fits your professional needs. If you are satisfied with the product, you will be able to subscribe to the Pro plan for $31.49 per month.
Flinto is an animation prototyping software you can use to quickly plan transitions for your app or website. Many popular brands use it, and we see no reason why you shouldn’t give it a chance during your next project.
Here are some of the most noticeable Flinto Pros:
- Ease of use
- A lightweight program which provides smooth previews on both mobile and desktop devices
- Sketch and Figma integration
- Built-in gestures such as swipe, double tap, tap, touch down
- Option to add sound effects
However, keep in mind that this software only runs on Mac operating system. Another downside is that it doesn’t allow you to import Adobe Photoshop files.
When it comes to pricing, you can either try Flinto for free or skip the 14-day trial and purchase a yearly subscription for $99. Note that this price is only for one user – so if you have a larger team, expect costs to increase. Still, we believe that Flinto provides great value for money and that’s why we placed it on this list.
3. Motion UI
Creating animations and transitions with CSS can be time-consuming and tedious. But with Motion UI, you can quickly and easily create professional-looking effects. With more than 20 pre-made classes, it’s easy to find the right effect for your project. And if you want to create something truly unique, you can always build your own animations from the source Sass files. Another great feature of Motion UI is that it provides code tutorials for each animation, making it an excellent prototyping tool.
Let’s check some of the Motion UI strengths:
- Animations are highly customizable
- Code tutorials available
- Open source code
- It is completely free
Motion UI runs perfectly on the following systems:
- Internet Explorer
4. Origami Studio
Origami is a completely free, but powerful UI animation tool that was created by Facebook’s web development team. It made its debut in 2015 as a collection of plugins developed on top of Quartz Composer, a visual programming language for Mac. Since then, it has been made available for free to the larger design community and has evolved into a separate macOS and iOS app.
Here is what makes Origami Studio a great tool for UI motion design:
- Open source library
- It provides amazing animations and interactions
- Intuitive drag-n-drop interface
- Origami Studio is a completely free UI animation tool
Although you need to approach designing UI animations in Origami Studio from a web developer’s perspective and have a certain level of coding knowledge, it is still a very useful tool for designers. Also, this product is completely free. But you can only use it if your operating system is Mac.
- Allows you to create animations, prototypes, transitions, drawings, and more
- Easy to import/export files to Photoshop and Sketch
- Tons of design resources you can find on Framer X store
However, to fully take advantage of this animation motion graphics software, you need to have a certain degree of coding knowledge. And it only works on Mac operating system. Pricing ranges from $15 for the individual user to up to $99 for teams.
6. Mockplus Cloud
Mockplus Cloud is a great UI motion design tool that is focused on collaboration between designers and developers. Whether your team is preferring chart specification or text specification method – Mockplus Cloud can help you ensure that each member can easily follow the project. It allows you to add specific requirements, notes, and layer data on the screen. This product also enables your team members to leave comments and tags to make discussions more productive. Mockplus Cloud is easy to use with other popular tools such as:
- Adobe Photoshop
- Adobe XD
This makes it a perfect UI motion design tool to help your team collaborate more effectively and comprehensively test website animations before the launch date. You can choose between three pricing plans – Basic, Pro, and Enterprise.
The Basic Plan is completely free and allows you to board up to 10 users, with an unlimited number of guests. It is perfect for smaller teams with low budgets. However, with this plan, you can work on only 10 active projects, have 3 project folders, and have one admin.
The Pro Plan costs $5.95 per user if billed monthly, but if you decide to pay annually you can expect a discount of $4.95 per user. With this plan, you won’t have to face any limitations that the basic plan has.
The pricing for the Enterprise Plan is not specified, and you’ll have to contact product creators to get a custom plan based on your team’s needs. This plan perfectly suits web design agencies that need custom features, an internal server for team collaboration and design, special training for employees, advanced features for managers, and enhanced customer support from Mockup Cloud’s team.
If you are looking for an open-source animation tool, Lottie, created by Airbnb, might be the perfect choice for you. Lottie allows you to render JSON files that you export from Adobe After Effects, which is essential for quickly implementing animations to your website.
Lottie’s Pros include:
- Source code available on GitHub
- You can load JSON files over a network
- Caching for animations that you frequently use
- A wide range of available animations
- Lottie is free
It runs on the following systems:
The only downside to this motion design tool is that it doesn’t support layer effects, including strokes, color overlays, shadows, and similar. However, if you are a fan of Airbnb-style design, you’re going to enjoy Lottie.
Get in touch
Having premium motion design UI tools in your hands doesn’t mean much unless you have enough expertise to fully utilize their capabilities. If you feel like your team is lacking an advanced level of knowledge in the web design field, seeking professional help is probably the best course of action. In that case, don’t hesitate to schedule a free consultation call with Alpha Efficiency.
During over a decade-long journey, our web design agency in Chicago has developed an advanced strategic approach to securing a strong online presence for clients. Our motion design work is fully based on your unique business needs, and it goes beyond blindly following the industry standard durations, project template files, and common practices in UI animation design. We’ll help you connect with your target audience by implementing immersive visual effects and achieving extended functionality on your website. So let’s get in touch today.