I find animated GIF very distracting. Sometimes even hold one hand up to cover it so I can read. What do you think? If small and is an avator that's OK - it does catches your eye - but what about a big gif?
Yeah animated GIF's and flash are things of past in my opinion. They clutter the web pages and you can never have a readable and nice website with them. Specially the color shifts and motion animation distracts readers and is very annoying.
Yes, I agree, very distracting to the reader. I guess placement is the key. But the focus should be on holding reader attention on the text. Yeah, the more I think about it, the only time animation is necessary is if the hub is about a video game or a tutorial with a screen shot.