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Short animations of max 4 minutes long are very popular to communicate key messages, new programmes or processes to audiences.

Employees and consumers alike suffer with information overload. They don’t want to wade through a lengthy article or attend another meeting. But they are far more likely to watch a bite-sized video.

Communications in the form of animations should be short, easily digestible and engaging. Great animations are all of these. And they’re also enticing because they carry feel good connotations of childhood and entertainment along with them.

Say, for example, that your Supply Chain has introduced a sleek new system and you want to explain it to the team. An animation that explains the benefits and leads the viewer through the steps they’ll need to take can make the process less daunting, more tangible and relevant to them. Animations are ideal for presenting complex or abstract ideas like these in a simple way.

It’s also proven that when words and images are used together, they ‘stick’ in people’s minds better. When people only hear information, they’ll retain only about 10% of it three days later, but if images are used along with the words, they’ll retain about 65% three days later. So an animated message is more likely to be remembered.

Our top tips:

Keep it brief: You know that people are busy, so make the time they spend watching your animation worthwhile. Keep your animation short, punchy and entertaining. If they like the first animation you point them to, the more likely they’ll be to engage with ones they receive later or others on your site.

Edit your script ruthlessly: A lot of our clients are surprised at how short a script actually needs to be. The script for a 3 minute animation would be no more than a typed page, for example. We base the length of an animation on word count, using the industry standard of around 120 – 160 words per minute of narration. We know that it’s hard work to cut down, but it’s worth it. Editing helps you to drill down to the very essence of your communication, focus in on one or two key messages and create a much better end result.

If there really is a lot that you need to explain, consider a series of short animations, instead of one long animation that tries to explain everything.

Don’t include too many characters: Have you ever read a chapter of a book and then had to backtrack because you’re actually not sure who is who? Yes, it’s annoying. Don’t do that to your viewers!

Entertain: No matter what your message, be interesting. Don’t try to convert a document into an animation. It needs to be a story to be engaging. And you want your audience to feel something about it.

Avoid jargon: Yes, we understand that the system is called RVDS and that the WDS should always report to the QRP but … keep it simple. Don’t lose your audience. ONLY use acronyms if they’re second-nature to your audience (or if the point of your animation is to familiarise employees with a particular term). But always think twice about using too much business terminology. Is it essential or could you explain what you need to, quite simply, without it? Be human. Speak like a human. Your viewers will thank you.

Think about your time frame: Before beginning the process look at your time frame. If it’s a last minute project and due urgently, an animation may not be the best communication solution. Story boarding and scripts need to be created and signed off before going to full production and voice recording, and the process takes time. And it’s harder than ever to make ‘quick last minute changes’. Changes take longer than other projects, involving reanimating, re-rendering and re-recording narration. So be realistic about your time frame and expectations.

Get in touch: Let us help you. Provide examples of styles you like, if you’ve seen any. Tell us what you’re trying to do and why. Describe your audience so that we can help you create an animation that reflects them, and which they’ll find engaging. Communicate openly with us and we’ll do whatever we can to find a fitting solution for your particular project.

If you’d like to find out more write to  [email protected]

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