Animated gifs are great. But like any good thing, too much of it is… well, too much.
The idea of an animated gif is to create a mini-movie using a few still frames. It’s an easy way of illustrating a point without having to create an entire video. Plus animated gifs are quick to load and don’t take up server space.
So what’s not to love? When the gif endlessly repeats, that’s what.
You enjoy the animated gif and you’re continuing on reading the article, while this thing keeps running, over and over again. And you can’t stop it. This is bad UX (user experience) at it’s best.
On good gif animator programs you’ll have the option to limit the number of times the animation loops. Take advantage of it and make life easier for your audience.
You’ll notice that my gif runs 5 times and then stops. How long yours runs depends on how complex the animation is – you want to make sure people have time to see and understand what’s happening.
I’m writing about this because I just read a long article in which the author used an animated gif at the end of each section. Apart from the fact that these were just fun pieces – they didn’t add directly to the content – it was all the more annoying that they ran infinitely, so as you scrolled through the article you kept seeing the pieces running over and over again.
In another article, there was an animated gif illustrating each step of a procedure. Great idea, except that as you moved on to the next point, you could still see the previous gif running over and over and over and… needless to say I went back to Google and chose the next result.