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Whenever I generate a favicon.ico using html-kit.com, it gives me the option to get an animated version. I've never used an animated favicon, but other than it being "visually noisy" is there any reason it's a bad idea?

Are there any creative or interesting usages of an animated favicon out there?

EDIT To be clear, the animated version html-kit gives you is a GIF, which you can point to using a meta tag. Sorry for implying favicon.ico image format supports animation!

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I didn't even know .ico files supported animation. –  mmyers Jul 8 '10 at 21:31
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Doh! thanks mmyers, it doesn't. html-kit provides a GIF. You can point to the gif version using meta tags. –  artlung Jul 8 '10 at 21:37
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6 Answers 6

up vote 15 down vote accepted

Don't do it. The days of moving content without user consent are over. In fact don't use splash pages or auto playing video.

Users need to produce action for effects.

However, mileage may vary. There is such a thing a novelty design, this is the reason splash pages worked in the past. Just be sure what you do adds to the user experience not just yours.

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I guess an animated favicon is like all others animated GIFs : done right, it can be awesome and really add up to your website. But make sure not to overuse it, as it can really get visually annoying !

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There are two problems I have seen with this.The first is that it makes your website look like it is never done loading, because users normally only see the loading favicon animated and naturally associate any animation with the browser loading. The second problem is that animated favicons distract the user, just imagine having 8 tabs open and each one showing tiny animations.

Generally animated favicons will drive your page's UX down, but simple and descriptive static ones are always useful.

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Please be aware of W3C's Accesibility Guideline

Guideline 2.3 asks you not to design content in a way that is known to cause seizures: "Web pages do not contain anything that flashes more than three times in any one second period, or the flash is below the general flash and red flash thresholds. (Level A)"

see http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/#seizure

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Are there any creative or interesting usages of an animated favicon out there?

There's a playable version of the Defender game that takes place entirely inside the favicon.

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That is awesome! –  artlung May 18 '11 at 22:20
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You got there before me Nick. Also the same guy was later paid to make a favicon game to promote a car. thefutureofads.com/smart-favicon-games-promote-the-fortwo –  Adjam Mar 8 '12 at 15:30
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Unlike animated GIF's on the web page, a favicon GIF can't be stopped with the ESC key. It will keep going indefinitely, and that is sure to chase away some of your visitors.

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Do you have any evidence for this claim? You may well be right, but evidence would make the claim believable. Thanks for commenting! –  artlung Mar 8 '12 at 15:21
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Uh, try it out? Nick linked to this favicon game where you can confirm that pressing ESC won't stop the favicon animation. –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Mar 8 '12 at 15:23
    
That claim is fine... this is the one "that is sure to chase away some of your visitors" that needs support. –  artlung Mar 8 '12 at 17:16
    
@TorbenGundtofte-Bruun That game uses a PNGs as frames animated using JavaScript, which proves nothing about GIFs. While, I believe you claim regarding GIFs is correct, your source is invalid. –  depquid May 21 '13 at 21:55
    
Also, FWIW, GIFs can't be stopped using ESC in Firefox anymore. –  depquid May 21 '13 at 21:58
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