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Microinteractions are events found in your device and within applications. They have one primary purpose, and that is to delight the user. 

In this article, What are Microintercations, we will discuss more about this topic, along with the following subtopics:



What are micro interactions?

Microinteractions play a considerable part in our everyday lives. Most of us do not realize or notice these, but they are there. From the time we wake up from our phone's alarm to checking our phone and liking our friend's social media posts. These are all micro interactions, and we encounter them all day.

In UX design, microinteractions are also something we should consider when we design our digital products.

Since micro interactions aim to delight the users, we should ask ourselves this question: Are we consciously looking for ways to surprise and delight our users? 

Even with little animation and feedback, most designs go a long way when it comes to enhancing the usability and user experience.

Microinteractions, when designed well, they enhance the user experience of the product. However, when poorly designed, they can damage the user experience. 

Dan Saffer, designer and author of the book, Micro interactions: Designing with Details, describe micro interactions as "contained product moments that revolve around a single use case."

As said, these are the interactions that we varely notice until they're not there. 

Some examples of micro interactions are the Facebook Like button, the typing indicator in a chat screen window, or the error prompts that you see when you make a certain action. These are all micro interactions that we encounter every day, and they have changed our interaction patterns.


The parts of microintercations

Triggers

Triggers initiate a micro interaction. These can be user-initiated or system-initiated. 

In a user-initiated trigger, the user has to initiate the action. Whereas, in a system-initiated trigger, the software detects several qualifications are being met and creates an action. 

Rules

Rules determine what happens next once a micro interaction is triggered. When rules determine what happens next, you need a trigger for that interaction. For example, an error prompt is triggered after an error log-in attempt.

Feedback

Feedback informs people people know what's happening. This means that anything a user sees, hears, and feels while a microinteraction is called feedback.

Loops and modes

Loops and modes determine the meta-rules of the micro interaction. Since loops and modes determine the meta, ask yourself this: What happens to a micro interaction when conditions change or when loops and mode modes determine the meta rules of the microinteraction?


The importance of a micro interaction

While microinteractions are considered tiny design elements, UX designers should not ignore them. If you disregard microinteractions in product design, this may cost you a lot in terms of clients and retention. 

One of the things that separate a great UX product design from a bad one is attention to detail. 

Here are the reasons why you need microinteraction in your product design:

  • Improve navigation
  • Help users easily interact with the interface
  • Provide tips to users
  • Provide instant and relevant feedback on the completed action by the user
  • Communicate details on certain elements, whether or not they are interactive
  • Enhance user experience
  • Encourage actions from the user such as sharing, liking, commenting on your content
  • Help direct user's attention
  • Make the interface more human and emotional

Another important reason microinteractions are essential to the product design is that they are a clear indication of usability and user care. A user has control of the actions, and whether or not these actions or log user data were correct and approved by the system, an app, or a website can provide immediate visual feedback to help the user work with the system.  

Properly managing microinteraction can give a positive feeling about the company or brand. They also influence the user's actions without them realizing it. 

The Hallo Effect can be a good thing or a bad thing for you. The Hallo Effect is when a user likes or dislikes one aspect of the product, and the user can also have a positive or negative impression of the product in general. 

The Hallo Effect improves the user's feedback and user data by using product interface process experience, on your app, or website. You can achieve this by paying attention to details to get user satisfaction.


Uses of microinteractions

Now that we all know that microinteraction is a tiny but powerful tools in communicating with the user, below you can see some examples of microinteractions that have an impact on user experience:

Swipe

The swipe action eliminates tapping and is more interactive and smooth in comparison. This task helps the user swiftly switch between tabs and also acquire more information about the product. 

Swiping also is a familiar gesture and subconsciously guides the user without making them think. 

Data input

We all know how it feels like when it comes to creating an account or setting up a password. This can be frustrating and can significantly affect user experience. It is good to include some interactive interactions during data by using medium to get users engaged with the process while helping them achieve a goal.

Animations

There is no question that animations improve microinteraction. Animations are good elements in the design as they act like a glue that helps designers make the simple processes exciting and at the same time addictive. 

However, be wary of using screen animations and constantly be reminded that they are there to engage the users, not to distract or frustrate them. 

Current system status

It is always important to inform user know what's happening within the app or website. If they are not informed, chances are your users will get frustrated and will likely leave or close the app or website. 

One of the jobs of microinteractions is for user informed of what is going on, the process of how long it takes to complete the task, etc. 

Interesting tutorials

All of us are constantly seeking information. Tutorials are made easy and fun through microinteraction, which helps users simplify things and highlight the basic features such as controls for easy processing.

Call to action

We know that microinteraction encourages users to interact. The best way to make the user interact with your call to action icon is to make it engaging to entice the user's interest. 

Animated buttons

Animated buttons play an essential role in informing the users on how they make their way through the app or website. 

As a UX designer, pay attention to the color, shape, special effects, animations, placements, icon, and texture to make a seamless user experience.


Tips in making (better) microinteractions

Most of the time, we do not realize we are interacting with microinteractions. That is the whole point of it. 

A microinteraction should not draw any attention to itself and overshadow the entire product design. 

It should be subtle, occurring in a brief moment or throughout a more extended interaction in a very subtle way. 

While these microinteractions are fun, users always choose functionality over design. 

Thus, it would be best to remember that microinteractions are moments where functionality and design meet to improve user experience. 

We know that a microinteraction is fun and functional. We know that as the user gets feedback on the actions taken and is informed and in control over the app—all these are given to the user through animation. 

But, making a good micro interaction is more than these things. You need to know the dos and donts of everything, and sometimes the line is thin between them.

User satisfaction comes first

We always say, everything we do, we do for the user. And the sole purpose of the design is to please the user, so are microinteractions.

Always keep that in mind. It should be clear that microinteractions should be designed very carefully.  

Test, test, and test. Although the micro interaction looks fine at first, it may cause a decrease in ease of use for the user and end up with a bad user experience. 

Keep things simple

Microinteractions enhance the ease of use. So why make things complicated? Yes, cute animations can look fantastic. However, putting them everywhere can become a wrong move. Too much animation on your navigation or menu can damage the company branding too. 

So, keep it serious but fun. The distinction is thin, but it exists.

Do not overshadow the content

This is one crucial aspect when it comes to microinteractions, especially if your product is not the website or app to make medium. 

Let us take Twitter, for example. One small micro interaction change inside Twitter made people go crazy about it.

This did not affect Twitter in the wrong way, though, since the product is the app itself. 

Imagine this happened in a company that sells something. It is good marketing, but it overshadows the product itself. And since people will not be on your website screen or medium app to make them stay forever, this kind of marketing tactic is unnecessary or even reliable. In the end, this may potentially affect you in a bad way.

Do not apply if it is not functional

There are so many websites and apps that include a lot of their design components or menu for the sake of appeal. 

If you are too overwhelmed in design, always go back and think about what your product does. This will keep only the necessary interactions that you need. You can also work more on enhancing these interactions for a better user experience.

Avoid reinventing the wheel

Remember that users are accustomed to several types of interactions, whether in the digital world or the real world. 

An example would be, opening or get the medium app and scroll it down. What would you feel if you found yourself able to scroll up instead? You will be dumbfounded or even get frustrated, right? 

Always make use of the tradition but also be revolutionary in doing so. Sometimes, old customs are good enough when touched by a bit of newness. 


Final thoughts

Humans are hardwired to seek instant gratification. Because of this, we tend to overlook microinteractions in the greater scheme of things. 

Microinteractions, no matter how tiny they may be, are very important to your users. They get users hooked in the slightest small design features such as toggling between screens, even highlighting the essential or fundamental elements of the product. No matter how small and invisible to everyone, these microinteractions can make a huge difference in enhancing the user experience. 

Mary Ann Dalangin

About the author

A content marketing strategist and a UX writer with years of experience in the digital marketing industry.

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