To AnimaTe or Not to....

Some days back my manager came up to me and asked me if we could show a particular stock animation on the Interface at some particular event in the hardware. What happened to that is another story saved for some other time, but what happened a week back is interesting.

I was trying to connect my PC to the internet using a nokia phone and nokia PC suite. This was something my mom and dad had tried sometime back at home (without child supervision :-)) and failed.

Whenever that happens, I get a call explaining the problem and expecting a fix. I had never seen that software at the time, so all I could come up with was some 'useless beating around the bush' which, needless to say, failed (My Dad, as usual, thought my engineering degree was a waste of money).

So coming back to previous week, at the climax of the connection activity (while the PC was trying to connect), there was a decent, neat animation showing waves travelling from the PC towards the tower (You must have seen it if you have ever connected to the internet using nokia PC suite). My Dad, who had been watching wordlessly till now, commented -

"As long as no waves come back from the tower, this cannot possibly connect."

Animation brings life to UI's and has enormous potential to confuse simple people.

Once during my first experience of Windows OS, something that I had put for copy hung. The progress bar wouldn't budge a millimeter, but I was happy because I could see bits of paper flying from one folder to the other!