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Bring your stories to life with motion

Bring your stories to life with motion: Cinemagraphs
(Image credit: iStock)

If there's one thing that can be relied upon in web design, it's that when you've spent ages designing a stunning site that ticks all the boxes – beautiful responsive design, all client requests (both reasonable and otherwise) met, fast load times, the works – the client will come back at the last minute with something like this:

"Hey, yeah, love the site. Just showed it to the directors and they think it's great; only one little request. Can we make it more engaging?"

Before you reach for a large drink, hang on; it's doable, and it can be done fast.  If you really want to delight your clients – and their directors – with an irresistible engagement fix, some eye-catching visuals are the way to do it. And while some striking stills will do the job, to really elevate a site you should incorporate some content that includes movement.

Right now, over half of consumers (opens in new tab) want to see more video content from brands and businesses they support—and with 85% of all internet users (opens in new tab) in the US watching online video content monthly, it's time to tap into that need for video and give them what they want. Read on to discover some motion-forward options for driving engagement.

Cinemagraphs 

Bring your stories to life with motion: Cinemagraphs

A little motion can draw the eye (Image credit: iStock)
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Depending on the nature of the site you're working on, you might be concerned about the performance impact of using motion content. There's no getting around the fact that moving images result in larger file sizes, and that can affect load times, so let's start with the quickest option with the smallest file size: cinemagraphs.

A cinemagraph is an optimised form of GIF that only has a portion of its content animated – for example it could be a cup of hot coffee that's still except for a continuous wisp of hot steam coming from it, or a beach that's motionless, except for clouds that continuously roll across the landscape.

The contrast between the stillness of the majority of the image and the animated portion makes for a really eye-catching effect, and it's a great way to introduce motion to your stories and sites. It can help bring your stories to life, and as cinemagraphs are still relatively uncommon, this content is a great way to engage your audiences' interest.

Fully animated GIFs

Bring your stories to life with motion: Fully animated GIFs

A fully animated GIF can make a lot of impact (Image credit: iStock)
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To make a bigger impression you can use fully animated GIFs. Invented over 30 years ago, GIFs predate the web and they're still popular today thanks to their animation properties, making it easy to use a continuous video loop to create new content. If you want to connect to your customers, using animated GIFs is the way to go – they're instantly recognisable and used all over the internet, usually in the form of memes. 

GIFs are also incredibly effective in presentations, social media, and more –they're eye-catching and engaging, and can range from hilarious to serious, and anything in between. You can find a huge amount of video content on iStock that's perfect for turning into GIFs – just find the perfect video, download it, and use your design skills to create a new clip that drives engagement.

Videos

SPEED RAMP Motocross rider jumping into air stock video (opens in new tab)

If file size is no problem then video is the ultimate way to add motion to your stories, and at iStock (opens in new tab) you can find video content for every occasion. And if you're really interested in visual impact then you'll be delighted to know that all of our 4K video content (opens in new tab) costs the same as HD.

The beauty of video is how malleable and editable it is; once you've found some clips that suit your project, you can edit them together to create new and unique content that fits perfectly on your site, complementing your designs and engaging your audience.

Research shows (opens in new tab) that on average, 88% of users spend more time on websites with video; that's why 87% of marketing professionals are adding video to their marketing toolkit. If you're not reaping the benefits of video yet, now's the time to start.

Fill your stories with motion

Now that you've learned about new ways to add motion to your creative campaigns, it's time to get started by searching through iStock by Getty Images (opens in new tab) to find the perfect, motion-packed content for your clients and their needs. You can also save 10% by using code ISTOCK10 at checkout, only until September 30 2019.

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Jim McCauley is a writer, performer and cat-wrangler who started writing professionally way back in 1995 on PC Format magazine, and has been covering technology-related subjects ever since, whether it's hardware, software or videogames. A chance call in 2005 led to Jim taking charge of Computer Arts' website and developing an interest in the world of graphic design, and eventually led to a move over to the freshly-launched Creative Bloq in 2012. Jim now works as a freelance writer for sites including Creative Bloq, T3 and PetsRadar, specialising in design, technology, wellness and cats, while doing the occasional pantomime and street performance in Bath and designing posters for a local drama group on the side.