The spectacular popularity of mobile devices means interactive designers need to extend their skills beyond the desktop to embrace the universe of HTML5. Among mobile devices, including tablet computers, smartphones, and interactive books and magazines, HTML5 is the common denominator.
Now I know there are a lot of people who don’t think HTML animation is very robust. They imagine type and div boxes animating and fading in and out, which I agree is less than optimal. But when you start combining that functionality with CSS3 and some of the styling and imagery, it starts to get compelling— you’re only limited by the browsers. Android and iOS devices have latest CSS3 capabilities that support features such as blurring, so it’s possible to offer a more sophisticated animation experience on these devices.
Animated illustrations in HTML5
Recently I created a course for the annual conference of the Association of Medical Illustrators that covered how to simulate illustrations in HTML for use in iBooks and digital magazines or for viewing on websites or mobile devices. While the subject matter experts were all medical illustrators, the session itself focused on making content today—easily digestible to readers—something that spans across industries. How do you capture your consumers’ attention with animation, and across various devices?
For the class, I created an animated interactive graphic that compares a healthy eye to an eye with glaucoma. The illustration shows how an eye with glaucoma can’t properly drain fluid, and includes a vision simulator that displays the effect of this condition on a person’s vision. The animated droplets are actually a series of nested animated symbols that create the constant, flowing effect. Edge Animate is able to replace a time and labor intensive coding process with one that is both easy and affordable.
One of the keys to easily creating interactive components in Edge Animate is how the symbols talk to each other via targeting. You can associate an interactive element, such as a click, with a symbol. In the glaucoma example, the user clicks the words Affected by Glaucoma, which then tells another symbol (in this case, the sunset photograph) to change its state. It is this ability to combine the functions and the order of symbols—each with their own timelines—that enables us to create these engaging animations. In the relatively short two hour class with 20 participants, it was exciting to see how quickly attendees were able to create their own animation projects using Edge Animate.
Animation is fun again
A few years ago, the web was full of animations and cool interactions, but those faded away as more attention turned to offering content that behaved consistently across devices and platforms. But people are starting to get excited again about adding it back into projects, and with Edge Animate we can combine styling and imagery with cascading style sheets and simple animation to once again create content that is exciting, engaging, and fun.