Abstract : We detail an empirical study to assess how display design and user background might influence information recognition with animations of movement data. We present results concerning response accuracy, response time, including a descriptive eye movement analysis. We found significant differences in visuo-spatial task detection with animations across map design types and expertise levels based on viewers’ visuo-spatial skill differences. With this empirical approach, we hope to better understand how users explore and extract information from animated displays. We also aim to develop sound animation design guidelines to increase their efficiency and effectiveness.