“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 am a fan of the use of animation and sound with content to gain and retain attention of the intended audiences. The key for me is the message of the content. For example, if you want a consumer to remember a specific product, the catchy tune with logo animation is going to hook a person for a few hours or the rest of the day….
I also believe there is a fine line between enough and too much, and when you cross it, you know it! For example, if you are in a noisy building or open-air location, multiple screens with sound turned up so they are actually competing for attention and not complementing each other’s messages is too much for me.
Oh and the absolute worst experience? When the sound is not in synch with the content! The strategy of content, delivery and location logistics are key factors in the decision to use or not use sound and animation.