Product Design

UX Design: Why You Should Know After Effects

Recent advancements from Google are making it easy and more exciting to implement new interactions into apps. With the release of their latest OS (5.0 Lollipop) and updated design guidelines, it’s clear one of the main principles Google is focusing on is motion:

“Motion is meaningful and appropriate, serving to focus attention and maintain continuity. Feedback is subtle yet clear. Transitions are efficient yet coherent.”   Google Design Guidelines

Basically, they’re encouraging us as designers to think more intentionally about using motion to create the kind of transitions and small interaction details that delight users, but also serve a functional purpose. Using After Effects Motion is a critical component of the user experience that’s often overlooked by UX designers. When it _is _thought about, it’s often difficult for designers to communicate how and when different design components should move, and how they should interact with other elements. Sure, some default animations are simple to explain, but more complex and unique interactions are not always easy to present and detail in static comps, which brings me to this point:_Every UX designer should know how to use After Effects._You don’t need to know all the ins and outs like you do with Photoshop or Illustrator, but you should have a basic understanding of After Effects so you can easily and articulately communicate the meaning and purpose behind interactions to clients, as well as the developers you work with. Common Complaints Some of you may be reading this thinking, “But Jesse, learning After Effects is too hard” or “it takes too much time.” While these statements might be true, they only apply if you’re really diving into the more powerful features that After Effects provides. Learning After Effects only takes watching a couple short video tutorials to help get you started. has some great  After Effects training tutorials, as does  Video Copilot (though they tend to be a bit more advanced). Once you have the basics down, putting together a simple animation in After Effects to help sell your ideas takes no time at all and is fairly easy to create. You may also be thinking there are a bunch of other prototyping tools out there that are also easy to use, and you’re right, there are! But those prototyping tools only give you the default gestures and transitions that are common on iOS and Android devices. If you want something more unique (like the example below), then After Effects gives you the flexibility and freedom to quickly create a prototype of your animation to get your point across.

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