Something I decided quite early on in the life of this website (which started out as a Google Sites site) was to try and integrate between facebook, twitter and my site.
Integrating twitter and facebook gave the site some degree of interactivity which wasn’t easy to implement otherwise (e.g. commenting) on the Google Sites platform.
The icons I had for these and various other social media sites (stumbleupon, digg, linkedin…) looked pretty cool. Or at least I thought they did – take a look at our footer and judge for yourself – I haven’t changed them much.
Then I realised that even though they looked quite cool, they still weren’t up to scratch. They need to change when you hover over them with the mouse pointer (mouseover).
After moving the site to wordpress I taught myself how to code mouseovers into the site so if you move the mouse pointer over these icons on our site (the ones in the footer and in the menu bar) they come to life!!
I have no idea if this will generate more use of these icons or more sharing – I think these icons are so prevalent these days that they get more ignored just because people are so ‘used’ to them.
However I do think having some animation on the site helps and makes for a more professional looking site. If something is moving (not too much) it grabs the attention of the person viewing the site more (or at least it should do).
When it comes to icons and buttons you can obviously get a lot of these things pre-packaged – I have one myself from shareaholic for my posts – however I don’t like to use other people’s code (plug-ins) too much as that means my own understanding is less, it makes the site slower having too many plugins and you can never be certain the plug-ins are well coded and therefore good for the overall health of your site.
I also added some animation on the homepage to have a moving slideshow of posts or anything else we want to promote at the top.
I think that’s about all the animation I’ll have though – there’s obviously a trade-off between the speed of the site and the amount of fancy animations you use – I’m even considering taking the footer icons off now as any sharing which is done is more likely to happen from the posts which already have the shareaholic ones…
If you have any thoughts or experience on this subject please feel free to share your comments below…