SVG interactivity is a feature of the Scalable Vector Graphic (SVG) format that makes it possible to add interactive trigger events to SVG files that respond to user-initiated actions. We’ll be exploring the topic of SVG interactivity in the context of interactive SVG animation.
The goal of this blog post is for you to walk away knowing what SVG animations are, the main types of SVG interactivity, the advantages and disadvantages of SVG interactivity, and exactly which use cases can benefit from the implementation of interactive SVG elements.
SVG interactivity gives animated SVG graphics even more versatility and increases their potential to improve a website’s user experience (UX). It’s no surprise that most advantages of SVG interactivity are user-centric, as it essentially elevates usability and prioritizes immersive design.
Designers and developers use interactive SVG animations to create engaging user journeys on the web and on mobile devices. Here’s everything you need to know about SVG interactivity in order to do the same:
Table of Contents
- What are Interactive SVG Animations?
- 4 Main Types of SVG Interactivity
- What are the Advantages of SVG Interactivity?
- What are the Disadvantages of SVG Interactivity?
- Expert Opinion on SVG Interactivity
What Are Interactive SVG Animations?
Interactive SVG animations are dynamic scalable vector graphics that allow users to interact with the animations by triggering actions in response to user input.
These SVG animations can respond to user input like the following:
- Mouse clicks
- Touch events (tap on mobile)
- Mouse hovers (mouse over/mouse out)
- Many other interactive event triggers
Who uses Interactive SVG elements?
Designers and developers alike use interactive SVG elements to create an immersive user experience. Dynamic vector graphics have the advantage of encouraging user engagement without compromising on all the performance advantages of the animated SVG format.
Why use SVG Interactivity?
Unlike dynamic raster graphics (like GIFs), interactive web animations are much less likely to slow down your page load speed or negatively impact a mobile app’s performance.
How to use SVG Interactivity?
SVG interactivity can be implemented in a number of ways, each method with its own level of complexity.
To create an interactive SVG, you can either:
- Create interactive vector animations from scratch with SVGator.
Why is SVGator the easiest route for implementing SVG interactivity into your web graphics?
SVGator makes implementing SVG interactivity a completely no-code process. The tool generates the code automatically, giving users the possibility to export interactive animations that are ready for dev handoff as is. All the settings needed to turn SVG animations into interactive assets are available in SVGator’s export panel.
4 Main Types of SVG Interactivity
These are the four main types of SVG interactivity:
- SVG Interactivity Triggered on Click / on Tap
- SVG Interactivity Triggered on Hover (Mouse Over)
- SVG Interactivity Triggered on Scroll
- SVG Interactivity With Custom Trigger Events (Programmatic Mode)
In the context of interactive SVG animations, these four main types of SVG interactivity are used to create engaging web content, user-friendly interfaces, immersive web designs with intuitive navigation, and outstanding user experiences. In this section, you will discover what each type of SVG interactivity entails, which use cases it’s ideal for, and which common misuses to avoid.
1. SVG Interactivity Triggered on Click / on Tap
On-click interactivity can easily address user experience pain points, so it’s important to implement it after mapping out the customer journey. The goal is to make the UI easier to navigate and lessen the cognitive load of interacting with a web page/mobile app.
After all, a clickable button that doesn’t display immediate feedback once clicked can cause confusion. A quick fix in this case would be to use an animated button that animates on click. Anything from a color change of the button to a button that morphs into a hand that gives users a high-five should work. As basic or as elaborate as you want it to be, an animation triggered on click will mimic the familiar response of real-life two-way communication.
With SVGator, this type of interactive SVG animation is easy to create, and you can also decide how the interactive element reacts on a user’s second click. Depending on your particular use case, the animation can be set to pause, restart, reverse, or continue on a second click. You can preview the interactivity settings you’ve selected in the export panel. That’s the beauty of WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) animation software, like SVGator.
|Use cases for on-click animation
|How to avoid misuse
|✔️ Social media animated icons to encourage users to become followers (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, etc.).
|❌ Not recommended if the SVG buttons/icons aren’t clickable and won’t trigger a response from the website (accessing a link, starting a download, submitting a sign-up form, etc.).
|✔️ Interactive sign-up links (subscribe to mailing list, register to get free ebooks, join raffles, etc.).
|❌ Not recommended if the clickable animation will be distracting the user from following through with your page’s call-to-action.
|✔️ Download buttons that morph into progress bars.
|✔️ CTA buttons in general (subscribe, download, claim, order, add to cart, etc.).
Try the interactive animation below! Click on the image to start the animation:
2. SVG Interactivity Triggered on Hover (Mouse Over)
Hover animation interactivity expands the creative possibilities in any viewport you’re designing/animating for. While it’s recommended that you keep click animation practical and focused on usability, hover effects can be used on a broader scale, all the while keeping the customer success journey in focus, of course.
Hover effects created with SVGator’s no-code workaround are significantly less time-consuming and effort intensive than coding on-hover animation responses from scratch. You simply have to set your animated SVG to start on mouse over (hover) when exporting. No code writing, no extra workload for developers, just ready-to-use code!
Similar to setting what happens on the second click, SVG hover animations can be set to pause, reset, reverse, or continue on mouse out.
|Use cases for hover animation
|How to avoid misuse
|✔️ Engaging microinteractions with animated icons (menu, download icons, feedback score, etc.).
|❌ Avoid bombarding the user with too much movement. An off-balance ratio between static and dynamic elements can turn an engaging and intuitive layout into a confusing & overwhelming one.
|✔️ Background animations that play as the user begins to interact with your website.
|❌ Some hover effects can hinder usability and intuitive navigation for customers browsing on mobile devices. It’s recommended that you test touchscreen usability if you’re designing primarily for desktop.
|✔️ CTA buttons that feel like a 1-on-1 conversation when morphed into speech bubbles on hover.
|✔️ Animated SVG logos that scale-up on hover to boost brand recognition and memorability.
|✔️ Animated CTA buttons that encourage decision making (like sign-up buttons that buzz on hover).
3. SVG Interactivity Triggered on Scroll
When you create this type of interactive animation with SVGator, you can customize the view percentage, which gives you control over how much of the animation should be visible in the viewport before the animation gets triggered. By default, we recommend a 25% view, but feel free to adjust it as you see fit.
The major benefit when you animate an SVG on scroll is that you can create an immersive user experience with ease. The animations become stand-ins that help capture a customer’s attention, paving the way for remarkable visual storytelling (also referred to as “scrollytelling” in this case). For instance, having SVG characters convey your brand story feels more personal and authentic, rather than having users read an “About Us” block of text.
🔹 To make this SVG interactivity setting work, you’ll need to add it inline to your website.
🔹 No need to make any changes to the code itself; you’ll just need to choose this particular implementation option. On scroll SVG animations won’t work with <object> or <img> tags.
|Use cases for scroll animation
|How to avoid misuse
|✔️ Web animations that exclusively bring entertainment value to the table are perfect for on-scroll interactivity.
|❌ Similar to hover animations, scroll-triggered animations shouldn’t push the limits of a user’s attention span. It’s easy to go overboard given how versatile and fun SVG animations are!
|✔️ Easily make timeline walkthroughs feel and look more elaborate (project, process, growth, evolution timelines, parallax effect), compared to static layouts.
|✔️ Trace the steps for an intuitive customer journey with animations that encourage users to scroll further into the content.
Here’s a helpful table to guide you when choosing the animation type:
|SVGator Export Options
|Animate on click
|Animate on hover
|Animate on scroll
|Animate on load
4. SVG Interactivity With Custom Trigger Events (Programmatic Mode)
SVG interactivity supports a multitude of custom trigger events. SVGator released its Programmatic Mode to give users access to a powerful Player JS API that enables external, code-based, and event-driven control of all animated SVG projects. This feature allows you to create more custom interactive trigger events between several SVG animations and preview the interactivity settings in real time.
These are the available trigger events in SVGator’s Programmatic Mode:
You can test these out using our LIVE demo, where you can upload your own SVG file and control the event interface.
To learn how to export a project as "programmatic," how to access the Player API object, and how to synchronize events, refer to our article on how to animate programmatically. Check out the full API documentation to learn more about the available API properties, methods, and the events interface.
SVG interactivity with SVGator’s Programmatic Mode is among the easiest ways to implement animated effects into a website or mobile app. It also makes it easy to combine different types of SVG interactivity to level up the engaging experience your user base gets to enjoy.
What Are the Advantages of SVG Interactivity?
The advantages of SVG interactivity are the following:
- Encourages User Engagement
- Increases Average Time on Page
- Aids in Website and Mobile App Navigation
- Increases Visibility of “Call to Action” Buttons
- Improves UX With Immediate Feedback
- Enables Custom User Interactions
- Upgrades Iconography
- Helps Strengthen Brand Recognition
- Helps Keep Bounce Rates Low
- Allows for a Minimalist Layout
- Assists With Dynamic Storytelling
- Increases Effectiveness of Informative Graphics
- Has Close-to-Universal Support (Major Browsers and Most Devices)
- Supports Accessibility Features
- Immerses and Entertains Viewers
Let’s see what each of these advantages realistically consists of for you, the creators, for your clients, and for businesses alike:
1. Encourages User Engagement
User engagement as a metric determines whether your user base finds value and/or successfully completes a task when using your website or mobile app. SVG interactivity can encourage web page viewers to initiate interactions with different elements on your pages.
Interactive graphics that encourage engagement can be microinteractions that offer subtle feedback to let users know that their actions are recognized and executed. Similarly, a “Pay” button that turns into a checkmark on-click, or a confetti pop when the user hovers over the “Subscribe” button will have the same intended effect.
2. Increases Average Time on Page
An increase in the average time a user spends on a page gives you valuable insight into how efficient your website is at grabbing and holding a user’s attention. Interactive graphics can magnetize attention in key areas of your website’s layout, buying you extra moments (even minutes!) to immerse viewers in the customer journey you’ve mapped out.
Something as simple as an event timeline that the user can animate on scroll can have a big impact on lowering your bounce rates and increasing conversions. More viewer sessions with increased average time spent on page also sends positive SEO signals, which is far from a negligible advantage.
3. Aids in Website and Mobile App Navigation
Visual cues that help users navigate a website more efficiently are easy and practical to implement with SVG interactivity. SVG elements that animate on scroll can make basic sections like pricing, testimonials, or contact information easier to spot. When customers have a hard time finding specific information, user retention is significantly less likely to occur.
Using interactivity to set the stage for a user-centric design takes the guesswork out of the equation and makes intuitive page navigation consistent throughout your entire website. You can leverage this advantage to successfully migrate a user-base to a brand new mobile app as well.
4. Increases Visibility of Call-to-Action Buttons
SVG interactivity will help optimize the visibility of your call-to-action buttons better than any action verb can (like “Start,” “Sign up,” “Join”). CTA buttons with interactive animated effects are much more likely to stand out from the passive and static parts of a website’s layout.
CTAs are the ultimate visual prompts to action and they play a huge role in the user’s decision-making process. But there’s no call-to-action phrase catchy or persuasive enough to outrank interactive motion graphics when it comes to seizing attention. Consider it a powerful trump card that can set you apart from the competition!
5. Improves UX With Immediate Feedback
Immediate system feedback on user-initiated interactions is key for a good UX design. The interactive responses of the system, made possible by SVG interactivity, will reassure users by acknowledging their actions.
An animated SVG element that is triggered on click mimics the familiar feedback that we expect when we physically interact with our environment. Just like how we anticipate a clicking sound and resistance when rotating a washing machine dial, the same goes for clicking a “Download” icon. Morphing the icon into a download progress bar to let the user know that their click has set a process in motion is how you preemptively meet a user’s expectations, in this case.
6. Enables Custom User Interactions
Custom user interactions can be perfect distinctive features for your website’s design. SVG interactivity (especially in SVGator’s Programmatic Mode) allows for easy implementation of a multitude of actions in response to user-initiated interactions. The ability to tailor your interactive graphics to match the functionality you’re aiming for is an obvious advantage when creating outstanding user experiences.
Creating different interactive trigger events between your SVG animation samples puts in motion a number of design styles that would otherwise be bland in a static form.
7. Upgrades Iconography
Interactive animated icons fall under the umbrella of microinteractions, and their role in UI design is absolutely monumental. Iconography can make or break a website or app’s functionality, accessibility, and ease of use.
With the help of SVG interactivity, icons can be upgraded to be even more helpful in meeting user goals. For example, a search magnifying glass icon can morph into a search field to demonstrate its intended purpose, processing times can be concealed with animated loading icons triggered on-click, and users can be encouraged to become followers with interactive social media icons triggered on-hover.
Click or hover on the following icons:
8. Helps Strengthen Brand Recognition
Strengthening brand recognition is an incremental process, which means that every extra effort adds to the overall ROI (return on investment). Animated SVG interactivity can be a powerful asset when it comes to establishing your brand identity via your website or mobile app.
Interactive animated logos work subliminally and are efficient at increasing brand memorability with each repeat customer interaction.
9. Helps Keep Bounce Rates Low
Interactive progress indicators can help keep your website’s bounce rates low by distracting users just enough to make the request processing time go by unnoticed.
A human’s attention span is a mere 8 seconds long. It’s no wonder users have little patience to spare when it comes to loaders of any type.
The solution is no more complicated than just entertaining the customer. Occam’s razor applies to UI design as well, and it should encourage you to take the simplest approach. Use a button with a progress indicator, and those “grueling” few seconds that it takes to download a file will fly by!
Don't just take our word for it! Try the button below.
10. Allows for a Minimalist Layout
SVG interactivity enables you to design websites/mobile apps with a minimalist layout without taking away from the brand message. This is made possible because interactive SVG animations convey more information than their passive counterparts. You can condense page content by displaying information on demand, as a feedback to user interaction.
Showing more content only on demand (e.g., on-scroll/on-hover or on-click), rather than on load, also has a positive influence on UX. The customer journey feels more personalized because it revolves around the user’s input. Minimalist layouts can be amazing storytelling mediums when you implement interactive elements.
11. Assists With Dynamic Storytelling
Dynamic storytelling that unfolds (is triggered, in this case) with every user initiated interaction is easy to implement with interactive SVG elements. The process of creating the animated assets for your play-by-play is quick, especially when using a tool like SVGator. And the loading speed of said assets is rapid due to the lightweight nature of the SVG format.
For a lengthier sequence of events, it’s recommended that you use a mix of event-based triggers. These will allow you to guide viewers through the story line while also giving them complete control over what content they want to interact with and the pace at which they explore the content.
12. Increases Effectiveness of Informative Graphics
Interactive informative graphics, like product demos, tree diagrams, mind maps, or pie charts, are ideal for effectively informing and coaching an audience.
SVG interactivity gives users the ability to interact with the content and even jump back and forth between the different animated elements of a demo. This improves the learning experience and promotes better information retention.
Increasing the effectiveness of any type of educational content is an advantage for:
- The content creators (i.e., users get a better understanding of how to use your product’s features)
- The intended audience (i.e., users have an engaging visual guide to reference as needed).
13. Has Close-to-Universal Support (Major Browsers and Most Devices)
The SVG format, and implicitly animated SVG and SVG interactivity, are compatible with all major web browsers and most modern devices (desktops, tablets, smartphones, etc.), with very few exceptions. Interactive SVG animations will have a consistent behavior regardless of what platform, browser, or device they are displayed on.
Designers and developers can rest assured that they’re providing their audience with a consistent user experience across the board. Animated vector graphics, interactive or not, are always responsive, infinitely scalable, and resolution independent.
14. Supports Accessibility Features
SVG interactivity is compatible with the accessibility recommendations of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the guides of the a11y Project (a community-driven effort to make digital accessibility easier). However, a conscious effort is necessary to design interactive animations with accessibility in mind.
For users with disabilities to be able to interact with your animations, there are various measures you can implement. For example, you can provide alternative text for all interactive animations, enable keyboard navigation support, and research more ways to adapt your designs to be compatible with the expanding range of assistive technologies.
15. Immerses and Entertains Viewers
Interactive animated content immerses and entertains viewers like no other type of visual content. Dynamic storytelling, easy-to-follow educational concepts, real-time interaction with a business's content, and all the other potential advantages of SVG interactivity all amount to a captivating and memorable experience for your audience.
What Are the Disadvantages of SVG Interactivity?
The disadvantages of SVG interactivity are the following:
- Can Require Complex Implementation
- Can Pose Accessibility Difficulties
- Can Disrupt Intuitive Navigation
- Can Be Incompatible With Some Browsers/Devices
- Can Negatively Impact UX in a Few Uncommon Circumstances
Understanding the potential disadvantages of implementing SVG interactivity is the first step in successfully addressing these challenges.
There is a way to manage each and every one of these limitations, so you can confidently create robust user experiences with the help of interactive SVG animation.
1. Can Require Complex Implementation
SVGator helps digital creators mitigate this downside of SVG interactivity. The no-code workflow, and even Programmatic Mode export, help designers and developers cut down on the time and effort required to create and implement interactive motion graphics. Automatically generated code and the ability to preview your animation in the export panel eliminates all of the guesswork that coding from scratch typically calls for.
2. Can Pose Accessibility Difficulties
The accessibility difficulties correlated with SVG interactivity is a disadvantage only if proper precautions aren’t taken during the implementation process.
Solutions that factor in the needs of users with disabilities and promote accessibility for all include:
- Providing alternative text for all SVG animations (interactive or not)
- Implementing alternative methods of interaction with the user interface
- Enabling users to opt to reduce motion altogether
Prioritizing inclusivity, accessibility, and usability in your web design and/or development projects will not only benefit your customer/user base but also help you make the web a better place for all.
To learn more about accessibility in the context of SVG animation, refer to the W3C’s Note on accessible animation.
3. Can Disrupt Intuitive Navigation
Intuitive navigation can be hindered by SVG interactivity if it’s overused or if it’s used in ways that unnecessarily distract the website viewer. For example, interactive SVG graphics that interfere with the visual hierarchy of your design can do more harm than good. The cognitive load that comes with figuring out where a user should focus their attention will at best lead to a poor UX (user gets progressively more frustrated) and at worst to an immediate bounce off (user leaves the website definitively).
To counteract this potential disadvantage of interactivity, it’s recommended that you consider usability testing before implementation. Following the principles of visual hierarchy in web design will help you avoid the most common misuses of interactive SVG elements.
4. Can Be Incompatible With Some Browsers/Devices
Device or browser incompatibility is a realistic downside that you should account for when working with SVG interactivity. The SVG format is supported by most major web browsers, but in some modern browsers, SVG support can vary, especially when it comes to SVG animations with complex interactivity features. In this case, only testing for compatibility across various browsers/platforms can help you prevent inconsistent usability for your interactive graphics.
Similarly, SVG interactivity can be incompatible with older devices that don’t have SVG support and rendering due to the lack of updates. Even if this might not be the case for your target audience, it’s worth using alternative fallback graphics to prevent having a practically unusable website in cases of incompatibility.
5. Can Negatively Impact UX in Some Cases
SVG interactivity can negatively impact UX in situations where interactive graphics get in the way of a successful user journey. For example, an unoptimized SVG animation with several interactive behaviors can negatively impact your website’s performance and slow down your page load speed.
Mobile devices that have limited CPU resources are the most susceptible to this occurrence, along with older and less performant devices of any type.
To prevent this mishap, read our article on all the ways you can optimize SVG animations.
What are the Pros and Cons of SVG Interactivity?
|✔️ Pros of SVG Interactivity
|❌ Cons of SVG Interactivity
|Encourages user engagement
|Can require complex implementation
|Increases average time on page
|Can pose accessibility difficulties
|Aids in website and mobile app navigation
|Can disrupt intuitive navigation
|Increases visibility of “Call to Action” buttons
|Can be incompatible with some browsers/devices
|Improves UX with immediate feedback
|Can negatively impact UX in some cases
|Enables custom user interactions
|Helps strengthen brand recognition
|Helps keep bounce rates low
|Allows for a minimalist layout
|Assists with dynamic storytelling
|Immerses and entertains viewers
|Has close-to-universal support
|Is compatible with accessibility requirements
Expert Opinion on SVG Interactivity
The easiest way to tell if the interactive SVG animations you’re implementing are aiding your user base is to assign them a purpose. Being able to identify exactly how an interactive element is serving your users is the greatest indicator that you’re doing it right!
Microinteractions (micro-animations) are the easiest to attribute a definitive purpose to. They allow the system to instantly acknowledge a user’s interaction with minimal movement (yet great effect in terms of good UX!). That’s not to say that effervescent drastic movements can’t serve a purpose. If rapid-fire motion graphics are typical of your brand, then spectacular hover effects aren’t out of scope. The goal is to make sure that the right message is conveyed during each user-initiated interaction.” — Mihai Cora, Product Manager and Product Designer of SVGator
SVG interactivity is a real-time facilitator for the conversation between the user and your website’s interface. The multifaceted benefits of implementing interactive vector graphics into your designs go far beyond the immersive user experience you create. The major advantages in other focus areas, like usability and accessibility, will not go unnoticed by your user base.
Interactive SVG animation bridges the gap between what makes a website engaging and what makes it functional. With the obstacle of complex implementation reduced to a non-issue by no-code SVG animation tools like SVGator, all that’s left to do is to put your boundless creativity to work.
Start out with SVGator and practice to see how easily you can streamline the workflow behind your interactive animations!