Factors that cause users’ confusion in motion design

Hi,I’m Jin,a second year Master student.
Today I am very glad to introduce my study to you.
My study is about “Factors that cause users’ confusion in motion design”(モーションデザインにおいてユーザの混乱感を生じる要因についての研究),and the purpose of my study is to clarify the confusing factors for users while watching motion elements.
You can see some demos of my experiments from http://demo.cupsue.com/
I‘d like to start from the background.
Motion design was applied  in games and movies initially, but now it is also employed in applications and Websites, according to the guidelines created by Apple and Google.
However, with a relatively short development history of motion design in applications and Websites, the usability of motion design has been verified individually without a uniform theory yet.Therefore, while motion design improves usability, it also confuses users potentially .
Although in the Internet, user experience research has been developed very well, but with the popularity of motion design, making the user experience, which focused on static elements and interface, has a new challenge.
Using motion design to improve user experience,UI/UX designers are holding a positive attitude.They share their opinions of motion design on the internet, based on their own work experience, try to make motion design more predictable and rule-based.
The current motion UI, including motion systems, are attempting to explain the effects of motion design from a variety of perspectives in order to make motion design more efficient in user experience.
Studies tend to focus on a summary of motion’s advantages rather than the reasons for the failure. Furthermore, most of the related work is based on experience.
That's why I want to start this study.
Before the formal experiment, I conducted a simple paper-based survey for 30 people in response to the question of ”Have you ever felt confused when you were browsing webpages or applications with motion design?” and  "what’s the reason do you think caused your confusion?”
Based on result,there were 28 of them said “yes” for confusing experience and the top 3 choice of reasons were “too many directions”,”too many quantity” and “too fast”.Shown as Table 1.
Table 3-1:What do people think make them confused in motion design
choose number
Too many directions
Too many elements
Too high speed
Too much colour
Contrary to normal operating habits
Too many patterns
Path crossed

Next,I did a series of experiments to verify whether these factors could really cause users’ confusion.
I designed three experiments,the variables of each round experiment were:
speed(Experiment 1- whether speed can cause users’ confusion),
quantity(Experiment 2- whether motion elements “Quantity” can influence users’ confusion),
the number of motion directions & motion elements quantity(Experiment 3- what “Quantity” influence users’ confusion).
The experiment was carried out according to the following procedure:
Step1,I put the pages on iphone and PC platform respectively, let users browse the web. After visiting a webpage, they would answer how many directions they thought, and grade the webpage from 1 to 7, according to their own confusion and speed sense.After testing all the pages on one platform, I would change to another platform and let them do the same test again.Questionnaire was shown as following:
1.How many directions do you think in the test page you saw?
2.How did you feel when you saw the movement?
3.How about the speed of the movement?

In the confusion survey , score 1 represents "very clear", confusion increases along with
score,and 7 represents "very confused".
In the speed survey , score 1 represents "too slow", the increase of score means users feel faster,and 7 represents "too fast".
Step2, fill out simple personal information questions, including age, gender and occupation.
I used the average of uses’ answer about direction,confusion and speed as analysis data.
I took direction answer as objective data,confusion answer as subjective data.I judged whether motion caused users’ confusion from both objective and subjective. If the difference between the direction quantity that users’ answered and standard answer is large,it means user was confused.In addition, the users’ confusion score is also referred to. The larger value, the more confused.

Based on the results, it can be said:
  • When in multi-direction, after increasing speed, user’s confusion will be stronger.
  • With the increase of motion quantity,the confusion sense is also stronger.
  • User senses the speed of elements being faster, this trend is not very obvious.
  • Within 3 directions, element quantity influences users’ confusion in multi-direction.
  • Since 4 directions, element quantity influences in users’ confusion is weakened, and direction quantity influence comes in sight.
  • When quantity is over 5,direction quantity influences users’ confusion.
  • Over 5 directions, user will feel confused obviously when over 5 directions, user’s speed sense may be related to device.
  • Within 5 directions, whether element quantity or direction quantity, has little effect on users’ speed sense.

Therefore, I suggest that if there are multi-direction motion elements in the multi-platform web design, the number of motion elements should be controlled within 5 so as to maintain a clear understanding to users. If the number is too large, the direction number of movements needs to be reduced for diminishing users’ confusion.
The shortcomings of this study is that  this study focuses only on a part of basic motion rather than a variety of motion patterns and combinations.However, as “direction” is one of the most basic part in motion design,the results of this study can still be applied to most motion design patterns which are with direction moving properties.
Meanwhile,the results and conclusions of this study can still provide a reliable reference for motion guidelines in the future, making a contribution to the establishment and development of  theories on user interface motion design.