“In a busy setting, do animation and sound in particular distract viewers from absorbing your messages, or do they help to draw attention? How much is too much?”
The answers are yes and yes. One of the distinct advantages of animation (movement) and sound is that they do attract attention. They each draw the viewer’s eye and attention, sharpening focus and concentration on the message at hand.
Sound also creates a mood, which adds an entirely different aspect to a viewer’s experience. Sound can drape the message in a variety of feelings from exciting and funny to dramatic and sad and an infinite array of other emotions in between. This adds a powerful benefit to the message being delivered. Music, sound effects and voice-over can provide more than 50 percent of the total communication experience.
But we’ve all been in an area where a noisy or fast-moving digital display is distracting and even annoying. In a corporate lobby, where visitors are greeting hosts or having brief meetings, noise and too much motion is a problem. In a public setting, noise is more acceptable, but can be equally overwhelming and irritating. Bottom line, the manager of the digital message needs to take the environment into account when planning the entire message package.