Motion principles

Adhering to motion principles as a designer helps create a uniform experience for our users as they move throughout the TELUS website. Be sure to check if your design follows these standards:


Motion brings focus to what is important and helps our users accomplish their goals without distraction.


Motion reflects expectations of the physical world we live in while demonstrating spatial and hierarchical relationships between elements.


All motion should work in harmony across our entire design system. Less is more.


All motion used should add character and convey the TELUS brand personality. It is expressive and delightful.

Fundamentals of motion

The fundamentals of any motion design start with defining the hierarchy along with the feedback and status of each element. The personality also must align with the TELUS traits and characteristics to maintain the brand voice.


The personality of our motion standards is a reflection of what we stand for, and it’s our job to ensure that all of our interactions reflect the following characteristics:

  • Helpful - friendly and ready to give help

  • Caring - kind and have concern for others

  • Reliable - dependable and genuine

  • Attentive - thoughtful, mindful and aware

  • Responsive - receptive and flexible

  • Trustworthy - true, honest and act in good faith

These traits describe how we want our customers to perceive motion on


Hierarchical relationships between elements help direct users by showing the elements’ relation to one another.

Parent/child transitions

Parent/child transitions show the hierarchy between the parent element (e.g. an account summary) and child elements (e.g. subscriber details). The transition moves users one level up or down through a particular flow.

Peer transitions

Peer transitions show the relationship between sibling elements (e.g. screens of equal hierarchy) that sit at the same level. The transition moves between tabs.

Top-level transitions

Top-level transitions show navigational relationships. Destinations are often grouped into major tasks, and the tasks may not relate to one another. The transition moves in place by changing values such as opacity and scale.

Accessibility considerations for motion principles

Be conservative about the use of animations especially if it affects a large part of the screen. Animations can be visually disorientating and can even make people feel sick.

User-initiated animation is much better received for system status and visual feedback and learning spatial relationships on a site. Avoid scroll jacking, parallax and autoplay videos. We should allow the user to control the experience on screen. If there are automatic animations you must provide the user with the option to turn it off.

There are built-in controls in the operating system preferences to reduce motion on devices and on desktop. If the user has this enabled, the fall back is to make it static by using a media query. The human eye sees about 200 frames per second so you should use 30 frames per second to make it as seamless as possible.

Dimensional plane (X, Y, Z-axis)

The Z-index dimension suggests a conceptual hierarchy that uses box shadows to indicate an elevated visual hierarchy. The plane of the screen has an X, Y coordinate system with 0,0 in the top left. However, the Z-index elevation is the imaginary depth pointed at the user.

X-axis: Objects entering or leaving screen bounds. E.g. global header, progress bar, progress tracker

Y-axis: Objects indicating progress or loading state. E.g. notifications, cards, tab content

Z-axis: Objects providing new information. E.g. modals, hover states, drawers, page loaders

Transition anatomy

Whether it’s a persistent, outgoing or an incoming element, anatomy motions communicate that a transition has occurred.

Persistent element

Motion applied to a persistent element (e.g. icons, cross-fading cards, expanding information box)stay in place, both starting and ending on screen.

Outgoing element

Motion applied to an outgoing element (e.g. content, icon, navigation) exits the screen by fading out at 150 ms - 300 ms.

Incoming element

An incoming element (e.g. content, icon navigation) enters the screen by fading in at 150 ms - 300 ms.

The role of continuity

Continuity plays an important role in design as it helps our users understand the system they’re interacting with. As a UI changes in its appearance, motion provides continuity between the placement and appearance of elements before and after a transition. A fluid transition from one point to another will draw the user’s eyes and guide them through the experience in a more consumable and friendly way.


Tweening is the process of generating intermediate frames between two states of an object. This gives the appearance that the first image has changed into the second image. Tweenable properties are:

  • Shape

  • Opacity

  • Position

Transition fades

Fading helps create smooth transitions between two states of an object by tweening its opacity.


Fade-in is when an object’s opacity transitions from 0% to 100%.


Fade-out is when an object’s opacity transitions from 100% to 0%.


Cross-fade is when an object is fading in at the same time and position as another object is fading out.


Fade-through is when an object fades out before another object fades in.

Feedback and status

When appropriate, motion should communicate that an action has happened and when possible, set expectations of what comes next.

Motion related to feedback and status should be timely and show the element’s pending status. E.g. error/success, loading, sending data, drag & drop reordering.

Speed (Timing)

Transition speeds are the observable speeds in which a UI changes states. With appropriate speeds, UI changes do not complicate or interrupt a user flow. Whenever elements change their states or positions, transitions should be slow enough for users to notice that it is happening, but fast enough so that they are not waiting. The optimal speed for the transitions should be between 100 ms - 500 ms.


Use the shortest duration possible so the transition is not abrupt or jarring.

Duration - simple

Simple components include but are not limited to selection controls, buttons and alerts/notifications.

Simple transitions need less time to complete than complex transitions and should be between 100 ms - 250 ms.

Duration - complex

Complex components include but are not limited to shape changes and icon animations.

Complex transitions need more time to complete than simple transitions and should be between 250 ms - 500 ms.

Exits and closes

Transitions that close, dismiss or collapse an element allows for quicker feedback. The user’s next task needs more attention so these transitions should have shorter durations.

Duration should be between 150 ms - 250 ms and is dependent and relative to the open animation.


Transitions that take over a smaller area of the screen have shorter durations than those that take over a larger area.


Objects in the physical world do not move in a linear fashion when moving from one point to another. For a more realistic motion, objects should ease in and out by accelerating and/or decelerating.


When objects are moving out they should ease-in. The transition starts off slow but ends fast and abrupt.


When objects are moving in they should ease-out. The transition is fast and abrupt at the start and slows down at the end.


The main goal of choreography within motion principles is to organize the sequence of movements and transformations (the two types of animations) taking place within the viewport.


Within choreography, sequencing helps maintain user’s  focus where we want it to be as the screen changes from one state to another.

An animation sequence refers to the order in which different parts of an animation appear, start moving, and stop moving.

A good sequence makes it easy to understand what has changed about a screen,  if there are any elements added or removed, and what’s important to know about the next interaction.

Sequencing - simple

Simple sequences animate all elements in unison, such as an app drawer/menu sliding into the viewport or sliding out of view beyond the viewport.

This does not mean only a single animation can take place, different animations can happen together. For example, fade in/out,  movement, change of colour can all occur at the same time.

Another element of simple sequencing is to maintain a tight timing-spread and similar animation curve so that the animations seem to end together and appear as one fluid movement.

Sequencing - complex

Complex sequences are required when lots of elements or element groups are coming into or going out of the viewport.

The elements are being divided into three groups to avoid confusion:

  • Elements going out: the first part of the animation

  • Elements coming in or appearing: the second part of the animation

  • Elements staying within the viewport: can still have transforms/colour/content changes

Some elements start moving before others to create a sense of progression and orient the user’s eyes to help them focus on a specific part of the screen (e.g. new CTA content).

The distance an element has to move strongly influences the curve and time used. For example, with screens that load content after a skeleton state, the skeleton has to go away and the actual content, which might be larger than the skeleton, has to find its place onto the screen.


We use transformations to switch gracefully between two states of a component or go from one component into several (where the incoming components are not on display within the viewport).

The primary reason to use these transitions is to help the user easily follow changes to an individual or a group of components on the screen. Transformations can be split between simple and complex based on the amount of information and movement involved.

Transformation - simple

When one component or a very small section of the screen has limited transformation and there is very little movement along x- and y-axis, we can categorize it as a simple transformation.  

Animating the change from one state to another reinforces that the same element now serves a different purpose or meaning.

Transformation - complex

Complex layout changes use shared transformation to create smooth transitions from one layout to the next. To avoid multiple transformations that overlap and compete for attention, group elements together and transform as a single unit, rather than animating independently.

Focal element

A transition may include a focal element, which is a persistent tweenable element significant to the hierarchy. Like animated containers, focal elements enhance continuity by seamlessly transforming their appearance.

Some transitions place a focal element in the path of other elements. In these cases, avoid using a focal element and apply the default transition, allowing elements to disappear and then reappear.