“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?”
I think, if done correctly, sound and animation always draw attention. Does that mean that animation and sound should always be used or that their use always enhances the message – absolutely NOT. If it was that simple, we could just play music and flash the message for instant results, but like most things, it’s never really that simple. One should always think through the message and be certain that motion and sound enhance the message or not. We have all seen examples of very entertaining commercials on television where we couldn’t recall what was being advertised after viewing. It’s important to have a context for your message that is enhanced by any added animated effects. Creating messages that inform, motivate and inspire requires thoughtfulness and work. If you’re not the creative type, there are plenty of examples available online to stimulate your creativity and/or marketing agencies with talented staff to help you as well.