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Part II: Fundamental Java Application Design
4: Visual Design
> Animation
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Animation can provide effective emphasis if used correctly, but give careful thought to whether animation is warranted. The human eye is attracted to animated elements. If the user's attention needs to be elsewhere, animation might increase user errors.

Do not use animation when it:

  • Detracts from more important screen elements
  • Interferes with the user's work
  • Dazzles without purpose

Useful animations include progress or status animations. For details, see Progress Animation and Status Animation. Other uses of animation include an animated graphic that activates when the user empties the trash or when the system state changes.

You can also animate application graphics to call attention to user actions.

  Limit animation to situations that provide meaningful feedback to the user.

The following figure shows an interesting use of animation in a process control application. The progress bar does not track the progress of the operation; rather, it acts as a gauge to show the temperature of a vat in a candy factory. The progress bar indicates what proportion of the maximum temperature has been reached (more than three-quarters), and the text message within the progress bar specifies the exact temperature (114 degrees) of the vat's contents.

Figure 42   Text Inside a Progress Bar


Text Inside Progress Bar

  If you write a message to display inside a progress bar, make it concise. Otherwise, localized text might outgrow the progress bar.

Java Look and Feel Design Guidelines, second edition.
Copyright 2001. Sun Microsystems, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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