It’s time to look at animated gifs again

Don’t look now but animated gifs are cool again!

Do you remember when Javascript was almost a dirty word? It was used for annoying popup windows and inaccessible navigation. Then things changed. A few people looked again at the technology and took a different approach to it. Now Javascript is everywhere and has transformed our web experience.

I believe the same thing is happening with the humble animated gif.

Most of us associate the animated gif with flaming logos, fluttering flags and under construction signs. However, as with Javascript, a few are looking at the technology again and using it in new and amazing ways.

The animated gif redefined

The pioneers of this next generation of animated gif are using it for everything from art to ecommerce and the results are spectacular.

A recent documentary by @pbsoffbook shows just how far the animated gif has come and clearly demonstrates its potential.

Why you should care

So is the animated gif a format that you should be using on your website? The answer is, quite possibly!

Animated gifs can breath some much needed life into the imagery on your website. They grab the users attention and act as design delighters, making your site stand out from that of the competition.

The alternative to the animated gif for adding movement to a site, is video. Admittedly this can be effective, as demonstrated by the Apple ‘new iPad’ site. However, video is considerably larger and often over the top for simply adding a bit of eye catching movement.

Personally, I am excited about the possibilities for the animated gif. As I look at our client base I see lots of opportunities. They could be used to enhance product imagery on ecommerce sites, demonstrate UX on an application or add personality and delight to a content heavy website.

Take a look at the examples below and ask yourself, how a similar approach might benefit your own website.

Boat sailing with the sea animated
Boat sailing with the sea animated

Woman watching a old fashion projector. The projector moves and room lights up.
Woman watching a old fashion projector. The projector moves and room lights up.

A man adjusts his jacket
A man adjusts his jacket

Photographers take photos at a fashion shoot
Photographers take photos at a fashion shoot

See also:

More on Interface Design

Boagworks

Boagworld