It's 2015 yet no mention of touch events?
While I'm kind of OK, thanks to the concluding paragraph of your post, I can't help thinking that animations are tricky.
Sure, they can enhance the UX but they can also ruin it if the designer goes too far. It's an accessibility problem and with Material Design and iOS motion skeuomorphism, we are starting to witness that even average users, who are not suffering from motion sickness or vestibular disorders, may feel uneasy, uncomfortable or dizzy when encountering some animations.
For example, it seems that more “regular” users have reduced motion in iOS than users who really need it. And one may consider this type of motion quite subtile. Personally, I can't watch the Google's Material Design showcase video since it makes me feel dizzy, and browsing the website is actually a painful experience because of 2 or 3 animations. Now, I'm not suffering from motion sickness or vestibular disorders, and I know a lot of people which are experiencing the same problem. And it's a bigger problem because we can't reduce motion on the web.
My 2 cents.
I received a comp last year that was 1600x1600. Print vs web goes much further down than the features of browsers. It's no surprise that designers and developers are being replaced by "creative technologists".
I admire what you have done here. I like the part where you say you are doing this to give back but I would assume by all the comments that this is working for you as well.
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