9 Extremely Useful JS and CSS Animation Libraries for Designers

9 effective animations solutions for great and user-friendly design projects.

Animations have been exploited in web design for a simple reason – catching user’s eye. Ever since Flash has been introduced, designers and developers did not resist the temptation of adding animated content which spices up a little bit the online experience.

Well, Flash animations are not used so much anymore which is actually a good thing for most design professionals. With the wide-spread use of iOS devices, it is no longer efficient to use Flash if you care about your audience.

JS and CSS3 animations are a result of the constant efforts of talented designers and developers to create a better-looking and user-centered web environment. Dynamic transitions and interactions are created to provide better feedback to the users. Motion is not used to please the eye. It is meaningful, created to enhance the visual and text content.

In the list below, I’ve gathered some of the greatest, in my opinion, JS and CSS3 libraries that can be used to create a better online user experience.

Semantic UI Transition

Part of the Semantic UI, this repository which contains pre-compiled transitions. It is a practical solution if you want to keep size to a minimum and not use the whole Semantic UI components. Includes beautiful animated transitions and neat static animations.

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An interesting library, as it relies on building dynamic physics based interactions with a particular focus on mobile web. Impulse is a very small and has no large dependencies. This animation library is unlike the others as it takes a totally different approach to animation. Most libraries animate from one state to another over a period of time. Instead of a duration, Impulse uses the initial velocity and stimulated the animation based on that. Animations are smooth and fluid.

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Velocity is an animation engine created by Julian Shapiro and it is probably one of the most exploited animation library. Velocity is with the same API as jQuery’s $.animated() and it works with and without jQuery. A distinctive feature is its speed and it features color animations as well as transforms, loops, easings, incredible SVG support and scrolling. Velocity offers the greatest jQuery and CSS transitions combined. In terms of compatibility, it works everywhere – down to IE8 and Android 2.3.

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GSAP is another useful animation library which is focuses on performance and compatibility. It is built with professionals in mind as you can animate colors, beziers, css properties, arrays, scrolls and many more. It is compatible with HTML5, jQuery, Canvas, CSS, EaselJS, old and new browsers and more. GSAP works greatly with all of them. It is extremely flexible and lightweight. Another great thing is that it is not dependable on any third party tools such as jQuery.

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Bounce.js is a lovely tool and JS library that will allow you to create beautiful CSS3 powered keyframe animations. You can easily generate static keyframes that can be used without the need of any additional JavaScript.

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Animate.css is one of the greatest animation library that has been hugely used across the web. Its simplicity, fun and cool effects, and cross-browser compatibility makes it a perfect choice for web and mobile apps when emphasis and playfulness is required.

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Effeckt.css is still work in progress and not quite ready but surely it is a library to follow and experiment with. It features animated regular and positioned modals, lovely animated buttons, list items and scrolls, page transitions, animated captions and many more. This library aims to provide subtle transitions to improve the online experience of the users and deliver classy and reasonable effects that perform well in 60fps. Not a quite ready animation solution but it sounds really promising.

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This library tackles the problem of firing animations on page load or hover events and the inability of stacking CSS animations. Animo.js makes it possible to stack animations so that they fire one after one. You can specify callbacks for the completion of an animation or simply fire it on any event or moment.

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SVG Loaders

A lovely library of beautiful SVG animated loaders. They are very easy to use and icon colours can be easily changed by editing the fill attribute of the SVG files. However, you should be aware of the fact that not all browsers support SVGs, especially animated ones, so you have to check it here to be sure that everything works great.

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If you know any other animation library that is quirky, useful and cool, feel free to leave a comment below so I can include it in the list. Thanks.

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