6 September 2015 | 35 Comments
When designing the Kickstarter project page for Scythe, I reached an impasse with a specific component that words and pictures simply couldn’t describe. I groaned inwardly, as I knew the time had come. The Time for GIF.
In general, I’m really not a fan of constantly moving graphics on a computer screen. If there’s a banner add or an autoplay video out of the corner of my eye, I’m distracted from the content I’m there to consume. Those moving images catch my attention, but not in a good way.
However, I’ve seen a few Kickstarter creators use GIFs in effective ways. GIFs are moving images. I have no idea how they work, because they’re not videos you can play or pause. They’re just short, endless, moving images.
The first project on which I saw a GIF and thought, “Oh, that was helpful” was the Beer Hammer. It’s a project for a wooden mallet that opens beer bottles (normally you don’t have to click on a GIF to see it, but that appears to be the case here and in the second example):
A few months later, I saw another project with a useful GIF. This time it was for a Scrabble-like game called WordTov that had some uniquely shaped tiles. As soon as you wonder why they’re shaped this way, you’re presented with this GIF that explains everything:
The key to both of these examples is that the GIF helped to explain a very specific, potentially confusing aspect of the project in a way that neither text nor a static image could.
This brings us back to Scythe.
In the Scythe Collector’s Edition, there is a board extension that slides next to the back of the game board to increase the size of the board by 50%. The content is the same–just bigger.
Confused? You’re not alone. Everyone to whom I’ve tried to explain the board extension doesn’t understand the concept. It’s difficult to explain in text and in static images, so I turned to video creator Bryce Walter to create a GIF of the concept:
It’s one of the few times when I think the endlessly moving image is actually helpful, because you may have to watch it a few times to understand what you’re seeing. At least, I hope you understand now–it’s final!
Can you think of other examples of Kickstarter projects to effectively convey a key piece of information via a GIF–something that could not have been expressed better in any other format?