Finding inspiration, developing a point of view, and looking ahead at the ever-changing role of the UX designer
A few years ago, I started to evaluate the topic of motion design. It was at a point in time where UX designers were stuck designing in static comps, drowning in annotations, and the primary tool we had on hand only offered us simple, clickable transitions. I knew that motion design was important to our role, but wasn’t quite sure how to approach it. After immersing myself in dozens of examples of how motion was being used in digital, I began to see a pattern in the ways it could be used in distinct moments. I started to better understand how motion can help us better communicate in a UI, help with cognitive load, make a UI feel tangible and realistic, and overall create a more polished experience. I formed the Principles of UX Choreography with the goal of coming up with some sort a reference that designers could use to help us know when, why, and how to use motion.
UX designers have made tremendous progress in the past year or two. There are dozens of prototyping tools at our disposal which are far more integrated and easy to pick up, and therefor easier to integrate into workflow. It’s been amazingly helpful to see many other designers sharing advice and best practices on the topic of motion design, and now there are so many more best-in-class examples to learn from. All in all, I feel like designers have established a better sense of awareness for designing for motion and interaction. So keep doing what you’re doing! ??
The need for identity
With this progress forward in prototyping with motion comes one con: the lack of a distinct brand identity across interactions. There are so many out-of-the-box transitions now at our disposal and we often get stuck referencing the same great examples over and over…it’s easy to just mimic what’s already out there and working for others. It is becoming increasingly important for designers and brands to give closer consideration to the branded interaction we are creating in order to create distinction and identity.
Personally, this same theme also started to emerge after spending time integrating the Principles of UX Choreography into my workflow and continuing to evaluate any experience I interact with. I started to see a bit of hierarchy to the principles, mainly the importance of beginning with Brand Tone of Voice and establishing a point of view on a “character’s” behavior and tone upfront. Doing so helps establish cohesion, rationale, and communication among teams (more on this later). Similar to how creative teams establish tone of voice for copy and visual guidelines for color, typography, imagery, and iconography, the same level of thought is needed behind interaction.
In this article, the topics I’ll cover include:
- Why you need a point of view on your brand’s behavior and when in the creative process to think about it
- Establishing Motion Pillars that all interaction should latter up to
- Creating overarching motion guidelines in order to apply cohesive behavior
- Finding ownable moments in the experience that go above and beyond
- Editing back, and looking forward to what’s next
If a brand were to speak to us, what would it say? If a brand were to move, what would it feel like?