Chris Gannon is an interactive designer, illustrator and animator. You can find all his news and updates here.

Ask a UXpert on the Adobe Design Blog

Illustration credit:  Justin Cheong

Illustration credit: Justin Cheong

I was asked to contribute to a recent article entitled ‘Animation Best Practices for Avoiding Common Mistakes’ on the Adobe Design Blog, where, as the title succinctly implies, we discuss common animation mistakes in UI motion design (full disclosure: I have made most of these mistake at some point or another).

The UI animation mock-up I designed for the article. Whilst there is a fair bit of animation going on, each animation means something and guides your eye in a linear fashion whilst supporting the user’s interaction.

The UI animation mock-up I designed for the article. Whilst there is a fair bit of animation going on, each animation means something and guides your eye in a linear fashion whilst supporting the user’s interaction.

Don’t Animate All The Things

Animating with restraint is a skill in itself and the saying ‘less is more’ must be kept in mind at all times. I’ve been doing my job now for over 20 years so I feel I can now call myself a seasoned professional in web animation and interactive UI motion design.

Yet I still find myself falling into the same traps and I am still learning to be far more critical of my work, remembering to focus on the people who will be using my designs and ensuring I leave my ego at the door, right next to my need to show off.

I work, as many of us do, in an area where if you’ve done your job properly, nobody notices. It’s a bitter pill to swallow but it’s part of the territory. It’s also a core reason why over-animating/over-designing/over-anything is still prevalent; we really need users to see how good we are so we add in way too much ‘stuff’ . This annoys people, ironically, and has the exact opposite effect.


Fronteers Conference 2018

I was honoured to be invited to speak at Fronteers Conference in Amsterdam in October this year (2018). Amsterdam is one of my favourite cities (no, not because of THAT (well, not any more)) - it’s a society that is very forward thinking in terms of health, transport and public policy and I wish our own government was as interested in, and cared about, the lives of its own citizens the way the Dutch government appears to.

Photo credit  Fronteeers

Photo credit Fronteeers

Anyway, I’d spent a great deal of time preparing my talk, panicking, getting nervous, overshooting my time in rehearsals and generally getting a bit lost with the narrative but eventually I finally wrapped it up, packed my bag and hopped on the plane to the Netherlands where the best ever conference care plan kicked in.

Right from the off I felt looked-after - I was met at the airport and taken straight to the hotel for a little rest. The hotel was wonderful (albeit a bit of an eye-full of mismatched decor which I slowly began to understand and, by the end of my stay, fully appreciated), the staff were great and once I’d showered and unpacked the speakers were whisked off on a canal boat for drinks and a meal so we could meet the other speakers and organisers.

I won’t bang on about everything we did over the coming days - this post is really just to highlight how well the event was coordinated, how every time I needed some information it was there, how nothing was too much trouble and how much of a fun time I had.

Photo credit  Fronteers

Photo credit Fronteers

The talk went well and was very well received (thankfully) and the rest of the time was spent enjoying other speakers’ talks and enjoying wonderful Amsterdam.

It went so well in fact that I had several requests to speak at conferences in 2019 so watch this space if you’d like to join me at FITC in February, FWDays in March and SmashingConf (potentially in Toronto in June).

Finally I’d like to offer my warmest thanks and heartfelt praise to the organisers of Fronteers for genuinely caring about their speakers and attendees.

Best Code Wrangler, again!

I'd like to thank my dog and my therapist...

I'd like to thank my dog and my therapist...

As I mentioned in a previous post, 2016 was pretty shocking. It wasn't all bad though - one good thing was being presented with the Best Code Wrangler award for 2015 by CSSDesignAwards. It's a nice feeling for your industry peers to recognise your hard work and offer a token of appreciation. Here's what they say:

Where would the digital world be without experimentalists? Last year we thought it fitting to introduce a unique commendation that shines a light on the people that spend countless hours perfecting the little things that drive big innovation in the web design and dev industry. Best Code Wrangler is a special accolade for code-loving experimentalists.

Well you won't believe it but I've only gone and won it two years in a row! I'm so chuffed because this sort of success NEVER happens to me twice - they tend to be freak occurrences that are never repeated. But there it is in black and white (well, green, yellow and purple).

I think if you were to ask me the secret to staying fresh and pushing things forward I would say that it's not a secret but it's something people may not want to hear and that is helping out other people.

I spend a considerable portion of my time helping people out with their questions and problems. Some are customers who have bought my work (who are actually entitled to the support!) but some are just people on my YouTube channel or emailing me directly or connecting on Twitter - people who are also doing similar stuff to me and just need a hand. It's during these exchanges that you can gain some real insights into new ways of seeing things and approaching problems, which in turn help you become a better designer or animator or whatever.

So it's really an award that recognises the value of helping out your community - because in times of trouble I too have reached out for help and received it in spades so I suppose what goes around come around.