GIF It: Bringing Back Animated GIFs

GIF’s have become cool again!

The emphasis though, is on the ‘again’ part.  As I have learned, GIF’s have actually been around since 1987.  But unlike back in those days, the GIF’s that I see today are much more than spinning globes and waving flags.  GIF’s or Graphics Interchange Format is a compressed bitmap image format that supports up to 8 bits per pixel referencing a palette of 256 colours.  The format also supports animation to create low resolution clips.

The New Yorker recently experimented with a GIF animated cover for its website and mobile apps.

New Yorker GIF Cover

Created by artist Christoph Niemann, the cover featured a rainy New York City as seen from the inside of the cab.  The image was simple with the raindrop falling as the animation.  Somehow, the raindrop turned an otherwise dull image to striking.  What a different a simple movement can make to a picture!  Imagine the impact you can have by adding a little movement to the still imagery on your site – you are able to tell a better story and build a stronger emotional connection to your audience. If a regular picture is worth a thousand words, wouldn’t you say an animated GIF is worth even more?

Aside from cover art, I think GIFs have so much potential and can have this same effect on your web content!  Here are a few more ways to incorporate animated GIF’s onto your websites:

Banners – I know an animated banner is nothing new since we’ve all seen our fair share of the animated banner ads but I don’t mind a well designed banner on a website which can help bring attention to important messages like upcoming promotions or events.

Product Images – You can either replace the image gallery all together or show a 360° view of your product.  You can also use the animation to show how a product works in a fun and interactive way.

Events – In the same way that an Instagram video or Vine video would work (without sound), you can show a series of pictures from an event or to highlight certain moments with a replay GIF. But unlike a video, they are shorter and require less commitment for interaction.

Demonstrate UX – Animated GIF’s can be used to demonstrate interaction on an application or site.

Call to Action – They can also be effective Call to Action’s since they are able to draw the viewer’s attention without being obtrusive.

Add a Bit of Humour to Your Content  – GIFs and Memes go together like no other.  Take advantage of this by creating memes that are funny and engaging to your audience.

Use them on homepages, product pages, blogs, landing pages, social media properties or even your email.


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