Creative trend: The rise of interactivity and animation

Creative trend: The rise of interactivity and animation

The days of static web pages, emails and designs are behind us, and with interactivity and animation rapidly gaining momentum over the past few years, it’s safe to say immersive content is here to stay. Offering up richer experiences for customers and users, interactive designs are proving much more effective and engaging, and creative businesses have been quick to adopt the trend and make it their own. So what kind of interactive, animated content have they been creating and how could it affect business and generate better marketing results?

Due to the fundamentals of human psychology and visual perception, ensuring the effectiveness of your visual communications is key – that’s why usability and accessibility are so important to any digital or online experience. Linear, easy to use interfaces, intelligent personalisation and specialisation should be your top priorities when it comes to UX (user experience), and in 2018, interactivity and animation have an essential role in all of that.

As a form of interactive storytelling, these mediums have proved successful with customers and are now an integral part of marketing engagement. Reportedly, 88% of online customers are less likely to revisit a website if they’ve had a bad experience, while 75% of judgments about website credibility centre on a site’s aesthetics. To top that off, a massive 94% of first impressions are based on design, showing just how important it is to create engaging content that offers something unique and different, with interactivity being the key hook to keeping customers engaged with whatever your company is offering.

Interactive creativity

We can’t have a conversation about the rise of interactivity and animation without discussing the actual content that’s being created. While some websites opt to have video backgrounds, this can lead to noticeable performance issues. To overcome this problem, web designers have begun employing background animations – known as ‘particle backgrounds’ – instead of video. Created from lightweight javascript, particle backgrounds let animation form a part of a website’s natural background, reducing load times while still engaging customers in a unique, thought-provoking way. Taking this one step further, so-called integrated animations are another way that designers have taken advantage of browser technology improvements, and are particularly useful for keeping a user engaged throughout the duration of their visit to a website. They can be used to liven up a typically dull loading screen, display something fun and attention-grabbing while hovering over a link or image, or react according to a user’s scrolling and navigation patterns.

Mobile-optimised websites are another facet of interactivity that’s taken hold in recent years. In 2016, smartphones and tablets overtook desktop to become the population’s browsing device of choice. Desktop’s portion of browsing traffic dwindled to 48.7%, while mobile web browsing’s share of the action had risen consistently since 2009. That meant that developers, marketers and eCommerce giants had to respond accordingly – they started to create sites that were just as easy to navigate on mobile as they were on desktop, if not easier. Featuring stripped back, minimalist designs, mobile-friendly sites are seen as nigh-on essential these days, making it even easier for customers to interact with their favourite brands online while engaging with products and content. Likewise, responsive design has even helped revolutionise desktop browsing. These days, websites typically respond to the size of the window they’re being viewed in, and react and resize depending on how the user manipulates them. In the coming years, designers will have to accommodate newer mediums such as AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality), which demand deeper interactivity for users.

But what do actual creatives think to these new interactivity standards and the inclusion of animation in design? We asked our resident Web Designer, Jamie, for his thoughts – “With mobile phones and tablets becoming today’s primary devices for browsing, I think responsiveness is key to giving equal experience to a user, regardless of screen size. And if you want to capture a user’s attention, animation and interactivity are great tools that draw on the curiosity and playfulness of a person’s mind.” Our Graphic Designer, Videographer and Animator, Simon, added “The presence of motion graphics on a web page or email immediately draws a user’s attention and provides an extra level of engagement. Animated GIFs or longer animated videos embedded in the page can also help get an idea across more clearly than a still illustration or icon in some situations.”

How can interactive designs and animation benefit business?

A number of industry marketing studies suggest that brands which utilise animation and interactivity (and have paid particular attention to UX design in general) will see the results. According to one study, one in three people will abandon a purchase if they can’t find the correct information, suggesting an interactive site that responds to a user’s needs and displays information more clearly would retain their custom. Similarly, visit-to-lead conversions have shown to be as much as 400% higher on websites with a better UX design, while a more user-friendly UI (user interface) has raised conversion rates by 200% in some cases. It’s also worth noting that 97% of business customers consider usability to be the most essential component of mobile apps, something that interactivity and strategically placed animation could help companies take advantage of.

If you’re more concerned with email design, polls have routinely ranked interactive emails as the number one email marketing trend. Interactive emails can consist of a news story feed, polls, navigation bars and tabs, feedback functionality and more. In 2015, Ticketmaster trialled an interactive email containing a poll. It let recipients vote for the best music video of the year, best female video, best male video and best rock video, all without clicking away from the email – and it paid off! On top of better than average click-through and engagement rates, the email received 182% more opens than standard email communications. Some companies have even gone so far as to include the ability to place orders within an email, and while few have perfected it, it’s led to an uptick in sales within these communications.

Want to get started?

Thankfully, there are plenty of tools out there to help you bring animation and interactive design in-house. A designer’s first port of call should always be Mac, which is ideal for any creative looking to immerse themselves in animation. Built with enough processing and graphical power to handle intensive animation generation, Apple hardware is perfectly suited to the requirements of modern creative workflows. If you want the best of the best, the brand new iMac Pro is fully equipped to take on 3D animation, which’ll really put you ahead of the competition!

Adobe Creative Cloud, which includes everything you could need to get started (as well as tutorials to lend a hand along the way), is essential if you want to achieve the industry-standard and remain competitive. Popular Adobe apps for animation include After Effects, Animate, Illustrator, Photoshop and new Character Animator. Simon thinks highly of Creative Cloud’s powerful tools, too – “Motion graphics are increasingly simple to produce within Adobe Creative Cloud. The timeline window in Photoshop is great for compiling short sequences, while After Effects has every tool you could ever need to produce longer, more complex animations.” You can find out more about Creative Cloud here, including features, applications, benefits for your studio, and price plans.

If you want to know more, give us a call on 03332 400 888 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Is the new iMac Pro right for your creative team?

Is the new iMac Pro right for your creative team?

Apple’s long-awaited iMac Pro has finally arrived, and it’s an absolute juggernaut. Packed full of staggeringly powerful tech, Apple designed this beast with the most demanding creative workflows in mind. But with such impressive specs, iMac Pro comes at an unsurprisingly high price point – so can you justify making the purchase, and how could it improve your day-to-day creative processes?

While it looks almost identical to the mid-2017 5K iMac (minus the dashing Space Grey paint job), iMac Pro is a completely different machine. Lets take a look under the hood…

Display

– 27″ Retina 5K display.

– 5120×2880 resolution.

– 500 nits brightness.

– P3 wide colour gamut.

Processor

– Base model: 8-Core Xeon.

– Upgradable to: 10-Core Xeon.

– Upgradable to: 18-Core Xeon.

Memory

– Base model: 32GB 2666MHz DDR4 ECC memory.

– Upgradable to: 64GB.

– Upgradable to: 128GB.

Storage

– Base model: 1TB SSD.

– Upgradable to: 2TB SSD.

– Upgradable to: 4TB SSD.

Graphics

– Base model: Radeon Pro Vega 56 with 8GB of HBM2 memory.

– Upgradable to: Radeon Pro Vega 64 with 16GB of HBM2 memory.

I/O

– Four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports.

– Four USB 3.0 ports.

– SDXC card slot with support for UHS‑II.

– 10Gb Ethernet using RJ‑45 connector (supports Nbase-T 1Gb, 2.5Gb, and 5Gb).

So, what’s it good for?

If you’ve been using iMac before now, you’ll know just how good the platform is for creative work. But iMac Pro takes things to the next level. It’s perfectly suited for everything from video editing and music production to 3D animation and software development and much more. Compatible with up to 18 cores and packing up to 128GB DDR4 RAM, most of the work creative professionals do will benefit greatly from iMac Pro’s extra computing and graphics power. Subsequently, tasks like video encoding and editing in particular will enjoy noticeable performance boosts from the additional processing cores, while even 3D rendering will become that bit easier thanks to ample memory.

If your team are preparing for the future and want to adopt new technology trends, iMac Pro will to be a great addition to your creative workflow. As demanding new formats and technologies like 4K, 6K, 8K, virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality become increasingly popular, it’s imperative that you have access to a machine that can keep pace while you’re hard at work. Thankfully, early benchmark tests of the hardware found inside iMac Pro suggest it’ll outperform previous generation iMacs on all fronts – that means you’ll see a definite improvement over your last iMac and you won’t have to think about upgrading your hardware for the foreseeable future.

With two GPU variants available – Radeon Pro Vega 56 with 8GB HBM2 memory and the more impressive Pro Vega 64 with 16GB HBM2 memory – iMac Pro is the ultimate bit of kit for graphics work. Creative teams will find VR applications working much faster than on an older iMac, enabling you to embrace and experiment with the new medium like never before. Likewise, iMac Pro’s powerful GPU will be a big plus for any games development projects you might be working on, and rendering in video editing programs like Premier Pro and Final Cut Pro X will also benefit.

Is it worth the upgrade?

Firstly, you should ask yourself if your team’s existing iMacs are meeting your workflow requirements. If your work doesn’t need need masses of computing power behind it, you probably don’t need an iMac Pro which, as mentioned above, has been built specifically for the most demanding creative projects. Of course, iMac Pro’s A10 Fusion coprocessor and SSD will undoubtably save you time when booting the machine and loading apps, but if you don’t mind waiting a few extra seconds it’s probably not worth forking out for.

With that being said, anyone looking to embrace new technology trends or push the boundaries of their existing video, software, audio, animation or development work will benefit from having an iMac Pro in their office. Complete with hardware never before seen in an iMac, iMac Pro delivers an experience you can’t get with any previous model and will provide an unmatched productivity boost that’ll more than make up for its top-end price.

You can purchase iMac Pro from our store here, starting from £4079 (£4894.80 inc VAT).

For more information about iMac Pro, get in touch with the team by calling 03332 400 888 or emailing sales@Jigsaw24.comFor all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.