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Flow from the triggering element

If clicking a button causes a modal to appear, have the modal animate out from the button’s location. In other words, have animations flow from the elements that trigger them. This bridges the cause-and-effect relationships in your UI, making individual elements feel better coupled and better organized. To understand the psychological benefit of this technique, consider how motion works in the real world:

When you pull a lever, a series of mechanical parts causes a connected object to move. Connected is the key word: real objects don’t move unless a force is exerted upon them. Likewise, it’s important to treat every element in your UI as an element capable of exerting its own force.

Every action should feel connected to a trigger. This sort of seamless experience is what helps an interface transcend from the digital into the physical. The more physical an interface is, the more responsive and emotive it feels.

The evil twin siblings of gradients are the box-shadow and text-shadow CSS properties. These are rendered similarly to gradients, but instead of stylizing background-color, they effectively stylize border-color. What’s worse, they have opacity falloffs that require browsers to perform extra compositing work because the semitransparent portions of the gradients must be rendered against the elements underneath the animating element.

The solution here is similar to the previous one: if your UI looks almost as good when you remove these CSS properties from your style sheet, pat yourself on the back and never look back. Your website’s performance will thank you.

Conclusion

These recommendations are simply that: recommendations. They are not performance best practices since they sacrifice your design intentions for increased performance. Considered them only as last resorts when your site’s performance is poor and you’ve exhausted all other options.

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