Animation is an invaluable tool for creating a better user interactions. Animation at Work is a concise, affordable (only $8 USD!) eBook on when, where, and how of using motion design on the web. No fluff: you can read it in one flight!
I made this book for front-end developers, motion designers, product designers, and UX practitioners. This book is everything I wish I’d known when I started working with web animation five years ago: how the human visual processing system works, what patterns are most common and where to use them, how to accommodate users with cognitive differences, and perhaps the most important part: how to communicate ideas decisions across teams and to stakeholders.
What you will learn in each chapter
- Human perception and animation
- Learn how the human visual system (“the brain’s GPU”) works, and how animation alleviates cognitive load, what the cone of vision is and why it’s a big deal, what change blindness is and how “animacy” can correct it.
- Patterns and purpose
- Explore common animation patterns and learn when to start thinking about animation (early), where to spot cognitive bottlenecks, and how to prioritize animations.
- Anatomy of a web animation
- Understand how easing, duration, properties, and performance come together to create specifications developers can deliver—and riff off of later.
- Communicating animation
- Discover how to craft an animation language and incorporate motion design into design systems with storyboards, animatics, and prototypes. Then see how put them to work to generate buy-in from across the team.
- Best practices and other educated guesses
- Learn to animate responsibly: why consistency is key, framerates are unreliable, and how to respect user cognitive differences.
What people are saying about Animation at Work
If you can’t justify the responsible use of animation to yourself, your team, and your stakeholders, all the technical expertise in the world is useless. This book explains the ‘why’ of animation so you can pursue the ‘how’ with confidence and clarity.
Justin Cone, Cofounder of Motionographer
I used to be skeptical of web animation. I’d imagine buckets of money spent on flashy features that just got in users’ way. Animation at Work changed that. Rachel’s focus on why animation works, and when to use it in our interfaces, is refreshing, practical, and immediately useful.
Sara Wachter-Boettcher, author of Design for Real Life and Content Everywhere
Rachel’s easygoing style makes learning the science of animation both accessible and approachable. Not so much a ‘how-to’ as a ‘why-to,’ Animation at Work is an invaluable resource for anyone working in the UI space.
Aaron Gustafson, author of Adaptive Web Design
The combination of in-depth research and Rachel’s real-world knowledge of animation is evident on every page of this book. It makes for an engaging read that will leave you in a strong position to advocate for and implement animations in your own projects.
Rachel Andrew, cofounder of Perch CMS and invited expert to the CSS Working Group
Animation is too often seen as an afterthought, a nice-to-have relegated to the last leg of the development cycle. Animation at Work teaches you not just how to create thoughtful animations, but how to do so in a way that is modular and scalable—essential knowledge for anyone working with design systems. It’s a clear and concise guide I didn’t know I needed.
Mina Markham, senior engineer at Slack and creator of Pantsuit design system
You can learn how to code a transition in a few minutes. But it might take you years to learn why, when, and where. It's not only a matter of developing skill and taste, it's understanding the psychological underpinnings of movement. Wait did I say years? I meant one book.
Chris Coyier, founder of Codepen
I’d like to thank to the editorial team at A Book Apart, especially Lisa Maria Martin and Katel LeDû, whose input and feedback made this book more awesome than it would’ve been on its own. And thank you to Scott Hudson, Dennis Kramer, Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya, Amy Lee, Rachel Nash, Jason Shen, Sam Cusano, Matias Duarte, Ryan Brownhill, Heather Daggett, Michal Staniszewski, Josh Murtack, Nicholas Jitko, and Nat Astor for taking the time to let me ask them so many questions about motion design.
I also want to thank all the people who have supported my work in web animation for so many years like the folks at the Animation at Work community and my wonderful husband!
This book wasn’t possible without you! Thank you!
If you enjoy it, please leave a review at Goodreads. If you blog about it, please shoot me a link!