Over the past year we’ve seen a rise in intro videos, Twitch animated cards/screens, even Twitch animated overlays and now dynamic overlays as well. It comes to no one surprise that most of the time it’s done without consulting a proper designer or with not UX (user experience) in mind at all. I’m going to go over a few principles and talk a bit about the future of Twitch animated dynamic overlays.
Let’s start with that we have today
We’ve probably all seen intro videos from some of your favorite streamers. Now these are great way to showcase what your stream is about, show what your community is about and what highlight the importance (all of these terms will make a return, but better later on). I’ve talked about Twitch animations and audio before and while it was never a long form article back then that’s what this is going to be all about.
With the intro video we have all attention but often for a smaller audience. That’s your option to weigh if or if not that’s the optimal way for you, especially when you’re starting out. Video, in any form, is expensive and time consuming. Sure you can get away with hiring some low tier graphic designer that watched a few Video Co-Pilot episodes or have downloaded a few templates. But you need to think about what you’re getting at the end of the day. Is it on brand? Is it even good branding? Can someone else come in and work with it in the future? Since if any of those things don’t click you can bet that the money that you spent on that low tier motion graphic will be needed to re-done. You didn’t save money by going there but instead wasted money that never really improved your stream in the first place.
A huge downside with a video is that it’s static. Not in that it’s not a moving video but it don’t react to anything. It plays from start to end and it never changes. Yes that consistency might feel comfortable but that means that it’s not adaptable. Music can’t change, names can’t change or for that matter can it change depending on what your stream ends up being or the games you play. It’s a piece of history after while and it will quickly be off-brand and outdated (depending on the type of intro). We can always update but remember that it’s cost a lot of money or time to develop something that’s good and that eventually will have to change.
Next thing are Twitch animated break cards, starting card etc. these can be use very effectively to give people something more than a static image. We do however run into the same problem after awhile that might now always feel fresh and new. However I rather see an Twitch animated card over an Twitch animated intro video.
Lastly we have our Twitch animated overlays. These verge on the problem that we see when there’s too many moving things on the screen at once. Often that’s what we see when we have video loops, they’re constant and they take away from your expression and the game itself. While it might not sound like a major issue we all react to movement and it makes our eyes fire off information to our brains constantly. It’s something that comes from way back when we were hunters and gatherers.
When are Twitch animated a good choice?
Twitch animations, in overlays etc, is all about the user experience. That’s why I don’t like constant loops since they only take away information and never presents any now information. This is the first question we ask ourselves when we talk about what Twitch animations are needed.
What should I look at?
This often get’s a bad treatment since Twitch animations are popping up left and right. Social media spinners, sliding text and all sort of alerts. We’re flashed with new, non-necessary information over and over again. When we talk about the good parts of it it’s the alerts. They present new information (new subscriber) that’s semi-valuable to your audience. What the optimal thing would be is to always use it to highlight new information. A reaction to a reaction, basically when a “button is pushed” in chat or in a dashboard (mod activated or user activated) there’s a prompt on screen, this information is based around certain events or upcoming streams. It’s not static but rather dynamic so there’s never any need to go into Photoshop or After Effects to make a minor change. This in combination shows the audience that there’s something new on the screen.
What’s important on the screen?
This isn’t often used and it’s for a good reason. Remember when I talked about something being annoying and never goes away from a looped state? Well this is that. So why did I put it under Twitch animations that are good? It’s because when you know how not to use it you can start to see ways that you can use it. Imagine that each time there’s a new subscriber alert that instead of an Twitch animations or an alert box all you get is an indicator. This indicator is on a loop until the streamer or mod or even an audience member acknowledge it. With either a chat command or a dashboard trigger you have now crated a reward due to direct interaction.
That Twitch animations is what is a highlight and it’s not until someone sees it and actually interacts with it that it will trigger. That’s how you properly can highlight and create a better interaction in your channel. Now this isn’t something that exists but these are the things that we at LiveSpace constantly think about. We don’t look at things others have but rather look at what people don’t know what they want yet. I’m only giving you one random example from my head but there’s millions of other ideas for all of these Twitch animations.
“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” ― Henry Ford
Is the overlay reacting to what I’m doing?
We can keep with the indicator from the question before this one. After we’ve had it triggered we then can allow it to expand. That’s immediate (well as immediate is it can get with chat delay) response to an action. That’s what we’re looking to achieve. This type of Twitch animations is also what a regular alert is all about. However what I’m talking about is taking it beyond that and making into an experience. The same way you open loot crates or card packs in Overwatch and Hearthstone.
These type of Twitch animations are extremely satisfying when they happen. They’re the reason why some donate and the reason why subs/followers happens mostly during your stream time. It’s so they can get that response.
What can you do to extend this feeling even further and beyond only alerts? Well that’s for you to either figure out or contact me about. Actually let me give you one of those for free. An easy way to be able to do this is through questions. Today all we have are the possibility to ask questions through donations. Do they even look decent? Probably not since you’re most likely using one of the free alert systems out there. However when we can lock down the ability to do a special Q&A session for your subs only (without having to go into submode) you’re not only awarding but also showcasing who asked it in the same way that you would see a subscriber/follower alert.
Is this working? How long will it take?
These are countdowns and I think we’ve all seen them. From plugins all the way to video version, with the same issue that you can’t change it based on what’s actually is going on at the time. But there’s a lot more that we can do with it. For instance you can take a look here on the Cira Correllia case study where we linked the countdown to a curtain. I’ve in the past created a loading bar for the stream instead of countdown (I also included a countdown). What it comes down to is how you can show progression in some way, be it donation goals, game progression (through API) or any other type of linear progression that makes the audience understand that whatever is going is actually working. Of course this means that when it doesn’t work it’s going to signal very hard that something isn’t right or that no one cares, and that’s the downfall of having a constant goal on screen for instance. The thing about Twitch animations are that they relate to us emotionally and they can all tell a story.
The combo menu
All of these things can be combined and mixed. Play them into each other or have them trigger each other and go as crazy with the different combinations as you want. There’s no real rules here but the user experience. If there’s for a second any feeling of hesitation or confusion that’s not a good thing. It should all feel natural and easy.
Dynamic Twitch animated overlays
Did you know? That all of the stuff above are all dynamic overlay things. You can’t get around it. Dynamic Twitch animated overlays will, and already, pushing their way forward with user interaction and engagement in chat. Dynamic overlays have been around for a short time but are taking a bigger and bigger stage. There’s no doubt that Twitch themselves are looking at making thing more and more dynamic (did you know about bits?) and there’s no stopping you from getting your own custom made things to get ahead of the curve.