“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?”
Audio and animation affect the way we receive information, and music and sound effects evoke certain moods. This is a powerful tool to engage your audience and deliver your brand’s message.
Usually, the environment dictates how content should be viewed. For example, in some retail settings, you may have light background music playing throughout the location. This is done specifically to set a mood. This is important because the mood in the store is part of the brand’s message. Video content with accompanying audio can fight the store’s music. It is possible, however, to have directed audio. In this case, the associated sound track should obviously be on brand and lend itself to the mood of the location and not conflict with it. Merely reading a message will not excite us the same way as it does when there’s music behind it. Audio activates the brain, and anybody who wants to deliver any kind of message wants that. The magic is the balance between an assault of sound and audio that is befitting the content and the atmosphere within which it’s placed. Furthermore, audio used as a means of learning often makes the message more memorable, and is therefore a tool to educate your customer.
Another way we learn is through kinesthesia, or animation. Animation with accompanying audio will instantly activate the viewer’s brain and stimulate learning. Because we can dictate certain emotions through visual guidance, this is a great way to relay your brand message. Furthermore, a series of empirical studies demonstrated that animation provides several instructional roles: attracting and directing attention; representing domain knowledge about movement; and explaining complex knowledge phenomena (Park, 1998; Park & Gittelman, 1992; Rieber, 1990).
By using animation and sound, we not only grab the viewer’s attention and evoke a mood, but we can also deliver our always-important brand message. If this is the objective, then audio and animation are unquestionably a means to that end, but the challenge is finding the balance between not enough and too much.