“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?”
With both sound and animation, tactfulness and artistic taste is key. My colleague Peter puts it really well when he says:
I think a good guiding principle is that elements animating/moving in a way that’s expected or seems natural to the rest of the piece will tend to reinforce the main subject , whereas animation that acts/behaves unexpectedly is great for catching attention, but tends to distract from the rest of the subject.
– Pete Erickson, VP of Content, Screenfeed
The same thing can be said with sound. If it is used, it can be used naturally to reinforce the main subject of the piece or it could be used unexpectedly to draw attention. Other factors to consider are volume levels and content refresh rates, considering the context of the screens and busyness of the surroundings. Consider the difference of chanting SKOL at a Vikings game with blasting audio and horns vs. in a doctor’s office setting.
Sound and animation are double-edged swords that ought to be used by someone with tasteful judgment, consideration for the objective of the content, the environment the content will play, and the audience.