Tuesday, March 31, 2015
If you take a trip around the web, and visit the websites of companies, organizations and even government entities, you’ll find that many contain animation. Simply defined, animation is a simulation of movement created by a series of rotating photos or frames. For many years, web animation was largely synonymous with Flash (it was created using Adobe’s Flash Animation software). However, HTML5 animation is now the prevailing technology allowing animation to be experienced across all devices.
Animation can be a great way to showcase the different strengths of your law firm, highlight multiple practice areas, showcase big settlements that you’ve attained for clients or can be subtly integrated to add a more professional feel to the design. If you’re contemplating animation for your practice’s website, consider the following:
As with all other components of your site, it’s important to take a step back and ask yourself – what is the point of this website and how can this animation help to achieve that goal? If it’s to reach prospective clients and you provide both personal injury and worker’s compensation assistance, you might use different frames in the animation to highlight these two unique areas of law. If it’s simply to serve as a validation tool for prospects who are referred to your office, you might instead use animation to showcase your different credentials. Animation can also be helpful in highlighting the different industries you serve, if applicable, and outcomes attained for clients (with the appropriate disclaimers, of course).
Most attorneys don’t have enough web development experience to create their own animation sequences so you’ll likely be working with a professional developer if you do decide to add animation to your website. To make the process more efficient, and ensure you get the final look and feel you want, consider the following components of each frame: the photo (or graphic) and messaging to go within each frame. If you prefer a subtle animation sequence, you might elect to have very simple movement and keep the image static while the messaging that accompanies the photo changes. Alternatively, you may have several photos all with a different accompanying message that rotates.
The transitions between each frame may seem like a rather minor detail but they can make quite a difference when it comes to the overall feel of the site. You might find that some movement is rather harsh while a gentle fade from one photo to the next conveys a more relaxed feeling. Work closely with your developer to understand the options and be sure to make it known what kind of impression you would like the animation to make on a visitor.
A few practices to avoid when it comes to animation:
If you have eight different practice areas, you may be inclined to include 8 frames, one for each area of law. We highly recommend that you refrain from creating a sequence that is more than 4 frames. Long sequences can be distracting and overwhelming to the visitor. A large number of frames can also slow down the loading time of your site.
Your animation can play a single time or it can be set to continuously repeat. We highly recommend that your animation sequence is just played once when a visitor first arrives. Your site’s focus should be on your content; your animation can take away from that if it continuously plays, distracting the user from the real substance of each page.
In addition to rotating photos and messages, animation can include sound. We generally discourage attorneys from adding this type of functionality. Many of your prospective clients may want discretion when searching the web for an attorney (even in their own homes) and having an expected noise play may easily cause frustration, causing them to leave your site immediately.
At Zola Creative, we’ve helped over 1000 law firms develop websites with sophisticated animation that help to further enhance their web presence. If you’re struggling to develop a professional site that highlights your expertise and professionalism, give us a call. We’ll perform a full website assessment and offer personalized strategies to fuel your success.