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The Surprising Benefits of Using GIFs in Web Design

Monday - July 1st, 2013

Written by: Tristan Pelligrino

The Surprising Benefits of Using GIFs in Web Design

When you think of GIFs, you probably imagine those viral images that gain popularity on social sites like Facebook and Twitter. However, GIFs can be innovative design tools that really enhance your online presence when incorporated properly into your web design. Strategically placed and imagery-rich cinemagraphs grab user attention and create a site filled with eye-candy.

With web design trends focused on the importance of imagery and retina technology continuing to gain popularity, it’s more important than ever to be as innovative as possible. Though animated GIFs are typically associated with social posts or those cheesy “under construction” banners from the early 2000s, they’re much more sophisticated than they originally were.

Why GIFs are making a comeback:

  • GIFs have been redefined. They’re no longer limited to those cheesy early 2000 graphics or social media posts. Now, stunning imagery and design can be set into fluid motion. Check out this video to see exactly how far GIFs have evolved. The potential for them in web design is impressively clear.

  • GIFs are visual. As web design techniques continue to evolve and refine themselves, the importance of visual design continues to be stressed. Because GIFs can subtly animate captivating visuals, they’re an incredible tool for any web designer to use
  • GIFs are sneaky. Some GIFs are so impressive that you don’t even know they’re GIFs. In fact, the visual imagery is so smooth that users who don’t know much about web design might just think it’s an embedded video placed on loop. GIFs add life and breathe imagery into any website that uses them. It’s a powerful tool to help you stand out from the competition!

The largest downside is that GIFs have a problem rendering properly on most mobile devices, though that situation could change as technology continues to improve. Regardless of whether or not you decide to use GIFs on your website, though, the importance of imagery is more important than ever before.

Alternatives to GIFs include incorporating more pictures onto your website. Whether you add more photos onto certain pages or decide to use a full screen web design, implementing more pictures is an excellent way to get visual. Also consider embedding videos onto your site. Aside from adding visual aspects, videos have been statistically proven to improve click-through rates, conversions, and increase overall strength funnels.

Regardless, the end goal of GIFs and stunning images is to make your website pop with simplicity and elegance. Consider various elements of your web design and how they mesh together to create a unified image of each individual page. Whether or not you incorporate GIFs, it’s important to place an emphasis on how your content appears on desktops and mobile devices alike.

If you do decide to incorporate GIFs, remember to either replace the GIF or leave it out altogether for your site design for smartphone users, as most smartphones can’t process the GIF. Just as the GIF has evolved in its technology, maybe smartphones will one day evolve to render them as well!

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