Advancements in computer technology that have occurred in recent decades have enabled an intensive development in cartographic methods for direct representation of phenomena dynamics. Even with the appearance of ever more advanced technical solutions, the theoretical basis still needs supplementing. The previous cartographic literature emphasises the importance of congruence and isomorphism principles preservation that aims at increasing the effectiveness of dynamic displays. Nevertheless, it is frequently the case that discontinuous phenomena are depicted with the use of smooth transitions. For this reason, it is vital that experimental research should lead to defining which representation methods are appropriate for a given type of content. Our study was focused on the cartographic design of scene transitions in animated maps. Two main conclusions of the research indicate that 1) mode of transition influences the interpretation of the content of cartographic animation depicting discrete changes, 2) maps executed in a smooth mode demonstrate lower effectiveness when compared with animations using an abrupt and abrupt with decay effect transitions.