Functional Animation


Sarah Drasner


@sarah_edo : twitter || @sdras : codepen

Fronteers, Amsterdam 2016

Sarah Drasner

let's start from the beginning.

what happens when you visit a website?

Creating Spatial Awareness


why is this important?

We already use this information

  • Websites start to all look the same
  • Buttons on a website as CTAs are the most powerful thing
  • Growth-hacking
  • User-testing

Animation gets a bad rap.

invisible animation

Immersive animation


Invisible animation

UX Animation & UX Choreography

Mental Maps

context-shifting in UX


Spacial Maps - connecting two states

Spacial Maps - cognitive leaks

From this CSS-Tricks Article


  • xxx Modals die 4eva xxx
  • breaks context
  • "brute force" UX

modals suck!

it's not them, it's their typical UX pattern!


style and branding:

Not one size fits all

Adhering to your branding means motion solves the problem for your users.

  • What happens repeatedly
  • Easing structures
  • User flow
  • Toggle on/off?

You're on a trip exploring a city

You want to build out the day of activities

Lonely Planet


Google Maps

Let's empower the user

This demo.

If animation just feels like the sugar on top, that's because you treated it that way.

Tough love

Do you hate animation?


This pen.

style and Branding (react-motion)


this pen.

anticipatory cues

Custom Loaders:

Viget did an experiment and found that despite some individual variation, novel loaders as a whole had a higher wait time and lower abandon rate than generic ones

22 sec

14 sec

Loading times

Spatial Awareness


space conservation

Right tool for the right job


  • Opacity
  • Transforms
  • Hardware Acceleration
@mixin accelerate() {
 transform: translateZ(0);
 backface-visibility: hidden;
 perspective: 1000px;

.foo {
  @include accelerate(transform);

Hardware Acceleration vs CONTROL

this pen.

Case Study: Netflix

IMMersive Animation

The purpose is to call attention

Dom/Virtual DOM


  • Dance, pixels, dance!
  • Great for really impressive 3d or immersive stuff
  • Movement of a tons of objects





  • Harder to make accessible
  • Not resolution independent out of the box
  • Breaks to nothing
  • Tanks with a lot of objects
  • ^ Because of this you have to care about the way you animate



  • Crisp on any display
  • Less HTTP requests to handle
  • Easily scalable for responsive
  • Small filesize if you design for performance
  • Easy to animate
  • Easy to make accessible

Flash is dead! Long live flash!

  • Interactive, immersive
  • Narrative
  • UI/UX Animations
  • Prototyping
  • Data Visualizations



What is it good for?

This pen.


This pen.

Small filesize + performance

Compare to using text with photos to illustrate an article.

8KB Gzipped.

That Whole Animation and SVG was

greensock (gsap)

Solves Cross-Browser Inconsistencies

Bad transform origin bug on rotation, soon to be solved in Firefox.

More in this CSS-Tricks article.




Safari (zoomed)


  • stack tweens
  • set them a little before and after one another
  • change their placement in time
  • group them into scenes
  • add relative labels
  • animate the scenes!
  • make the whole thing faster, move the placement of the whole scene, nesting

All without recalculation

The issue with longer CSS animations:

This pen.


Percentage-Based Transforms on SVG!

get excited.

This pen courtesy of GreenSock.

We can do stuff like this, All fully responsive in every direction

It doesn't neccessarily have to be fully fluid, either. Let's Implement some Responsive Design.

Designing Interaction in Responsive Animations

Like legos.

This pen.

//variable declaration for the global repeated animations
var gear = $("#gear1, #gear2, #gear3");

//animation that's repeated for all of the sections
function revolve() {
  var tl = new TimelineMax();

  tl.add("begin");, 4, {
      transformOrigin: "50% 50%",
      rotation: 360,
      ease: Linear.easeNone
    }, "begin");

  return tl;

var repeat = new TimelineMax({repeat:-1});
function paintPanda() {
  var tl = new TimelineMax();, 1, {
    scaleY: 1.2,
    rotation: -5,
    transformOrigin: "50% 0",
    ease: Circ.easeOut
  }, "paintIt+=1");

  return tl;

//create a timeline but initially pause it so that we can control it via click
var triggerPaint = new TimelineMax({
  paused: true

//this button kicks off the panda painting timeline
$("#button").on("click", function(e) {



Title and associative aria tags:

<svg aria-labelledby="title" 
  viewBox="0 0 765 587">
<title id="title" 
  Icons that illustrate Global Warming Solutions

Title for elements in the SVG DOM

Role to let the screen reader know whether to traverse

This resource, with support charts.

This article by Heather Migliorisi.

This pen.


This pen.

Main Principle:

Design everything first, slowly unveil things.

Ugly storyboards save you time!

This pen.

Created with web Technologies!




How did we use SVG?

Three ways:

  • Directly inline in the HTML, for loops
  • Background images, for things like taco
  • Inline in React
const HeartMeter = React.createClass({
  render() {
    return (
        <svg className="heartmeter" xmlns="" width="250" height="50" viewBox="0 0 1741.8 395.6">
          <path d="M1741.8 197.7c0 109.3-89 197.8-198.8 197.8a198.6 198.6 0 0 1-158.5-78.4H11.2A11.2 11.2 0 0 1 0 305.9V89.5a11.2 11.2 0 0 1 11.2-11.1h1373.4A198.8 198.8 0 0 1 1543 0c109.8 0 198.8 88.5 198.8 197.7z" fill="#000"/>
          <path d="M1591.8 127c-18.3 0-34.1 14.8-41.4 30.3-7.3-15.5-23.1-30.3-41.4-30.3a45.7 45.7 0 0 0-45.7 45.5c0 51.1 51.8 64.5 87.1 115.1 33.4-50.2 87.1-65.6 87.1-115.1a45.7 45.7 0 0 0-45.7-45.5z" fill="#b29968"/>
          <rect x="68.2" y="140.8" width={this.props.score} height="101.55" fill="#9391aa"/>

How did we animate?

FOUR ways:

  • GSAP looping in functions outside React
  • RAF to detect collisions
  • GSAP for keypress events
  • Repeating callbacks for tacos and margaritas

GSAP for Animation

  _flyBy: function(el, amt, name, delay) {
    if (this.props._isGameOver()) return;

    TweenMax.fromTo(el, amt, {
      x:window.innerWidth + 200
    }, {
      x: -200,
      rotation: 360,
      delay: delay, 
      onCompleteParams:[el, amt, name, delay],
      ease: Power1.easeInOut
function balloonGrow(){
  var balloon = $("#balloon")[0];
  var radius = balloon.getAttribute("r");
  var cySet = balloon.getAttribute("cy");
  balloon.setAttribute('r', parseInt(radius) + 10);
  balloon.setAttribute('cy', parseInt(cySet) - 10);
  if (parseInt(radius) > 125) {"balloon-pop3");
    var balloonTl = new TimelineMax();
    balloonTl.add("pop");"#balloon", 0.05, {
      scale: 5,
      opacity: 0,
      transformOrigin: "50% 50%",
      ease: Circ.easeOut
    }, "pop");
      balloon.setAttribute("r", "45");
      balloon.setAttribute("cy", "233.5");
    }, 200);

Touch on Mobile

This pen.

This pen.

The web has so much potential

Even old technologies like SVG


Social Coding Sites Help You Learn

Fun. Remember fun?

(I don't work for them and they don't pay me)

  • Codepen
  • JS Fiddle
  • Dabblet

with Val Head


O'Reilly Book

SVG Animation

Thank You!

@sarah_edo on twitter

@sdras on codepen

Functional Animation - Fronteers

By sdrasner

Functional Animation - Fronteers

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