Motion is an increasingly common feature in website design. Whether in the form of live-action video, animations, or kinetic typography, web designers use motion to set a tone, tell a story, or express a brand’s identity. Today, motion is most often found on entertainment and consumer goods websites.
The legal space, on the other hand, is still almost entirely static. Which means your firm has the opportunity to set itself apart from the competition and show your prospective clients that yours isn’t their grandfather’s law firm.
Fortunately, it’s easier and more affordable than ever to include motion on your law firm’s website. But in order for it to be effective, you must do it well. Your prospective clients’ expectations regarding video and motion graphics are high. They’ve been set by television, movies, and consumer brand websites.
If you use motion in a less-than-polished manner, it will only serve to undermine your brand. Here’s why you might want to consider making the leap for motion — and what you need to know to get started.
Why Include Motion on Your Law Firm’s Website?
There are several reasons you should consider incorporating motion into your law firm’s website design.
The first is that, when used strategically, motion can instantly make your law firm’s website more engaging and immersive. After all, if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a motion picture must be worth far more. Motion has the power to succinctly share ideas, convey emotion, and draw in viewers.
Second, because relatively few law firms have adopted motion into their website design, those firms that do utilize motion — and do it well — set themselves apart. They put themselves in a league of firms that are contemporary, progressive, and tech savvy. In short, motion can help your firm appear more “of the moment” and relevant.
Finally, motion can be used to powerfully augment your law firm’s brand identity and personality. For example, we worked with the California-based law firm Hueston Hennigan to produce striking video clips and animated typographical elements for their homepage to visually reinforce the idea that they are uniquely disruptive.
Where and How to Add Motion to Your Website
Your homepage is the most obvious place to incorporate motion in your law firm’s website. That’s because your homepage is the digital equivalent of your firm’s front entry. Its whole job is to quickly orient prospective clients to who you are and what you do. In addition, it sets the tone for your brand. How it looks and feels. What it stands for. So it makes sense to start with your homepage when it comes to adding motion to your website design.
That said, there are many different ways to incorporate motion into your law firm’s website. These include:
- Live-action video. Rather than the standard “hero” image at the top of your homepage, consider deploying live action video instead. Very few law firms choose to hire a production company to film their own, original live action footage. That’s because stock footage represents a perfectly acceptable (and much more reasonably priced) option. With skillful editing, you can stitch multiple stock footage clips together to impressive effect.
- Animations. Animations are a good alternative to live action video. They are frequently used in so-called “explainer” videos. But more abstract animations can also be used to set the tone and reinforce the overall visual design of a website.
- Kinetic typography. Also called “moving typography,” kinetic typography is text that includes some form of animated motion.
- Hover states. When you hover your mouse over an icon or menu item and the element changes, designers call that a hover state. Hover states represent a natural opportunity to incorporate motion
- Motion signature. When you apply motion to your logo, designers often call that a “motion signature.” For example, if your brand has an eye-catching motion signature, you might deploy it when your website first loads or utilize it as a hover state.
How to Effectively Deploy Motion in Your Website Design
If you want to use motion effectively on your website, you must think strategically.
To begin, you must make sure to use motion in a way that supports (rather than undermines) your brand. Don’t use motion just for the sake of appearing technologically savvy. Instead, use it in ways that reflect and augment your brand identity. For example, a conservative law firm might use motion in more subtle ways than would a firm that positions itself as being brash and progressive.
Secondly, you must pay attention to quality. Hollywood has conditioned consumers (your prospective clients included) to expect high-resolution video imagery and professional editing. Work with your designer and developer to ensure that the motion elements you incorporate look polished and function seamlessly on all screens and devices.
Know that motion can sometimes be buggy on mobile devices. The majority of your site visitors are probably accessing your website via desktop and laptop computers. (That’s true of most professional services websites.) However, if you know that your law firm’s website experiences a high volume of mobile users, you will want to pay special attention to your mobile experience. And that may mean limiting motion, especially in the mobile context.
Motion is trending in web design for a reason. Use it on your law firm’s website to reinforce your positioning — and set your firm apart from the competition.