Micro-interactions are widely present in our digital lives, though we do not notice most of them. From the moment we wake up to the phone ringing to checking if the message notification is from a friend, we encounter micro-interactions daily. They are essentially needed to complete an experience of a user flow with the right impact.
Being a UI/UX design agency, micro-interactions is something one should consider seriously. After all, satisfying users is a high priority, and what better way to do it than providing tiny interactive elements and fun engagements throughout the product? This blog lets you delve deeper into the topic and find more about micro-interactions, their importance, and how they improve UX and Interaction Design.
What Are Micro-interactions?
Micro-interactions are individual moments in the product design where the user and design interact. They are small, preferably functional animations that support the user by giving visual feedback and displaying changes more clearly. They mainly have a single purpose- to delight users by creating an engaging, welcoming, and thrilling moment.
Micro-interactions enable communication without words. Micro-interactions can be seen everywhere, like the loading bar that shows your action is being processed and confetti popping when it is done. Swiping, scrolling, and clicking, hovering over something, liking, sharing, and saving, turning the volume up and down, muting and unmuting your phone are all micro-interactions or involve it somehow.
Why Are Micro-interactions Important?
The most significant element of micro-interactions is that they exist solely for the benefit and satisfaction of users. When businesses work hard towards putting customers first, users feel special and get attracted to the product.
We often forget the main goal of creating a product, making users habitually and repeatedly come back to the product. A good design is what helps us achieve this goal. Therefore, we must focus on the details of our product design to find opportunities to add micro-interactions that make users feel attracted and connected to the product, thus making them come back more often.
Attention to detail transforms an ordinary product into a memorable one, and micro-interactions are fun, playful, and engaging ways to do this. If you can design an experience that accomplishes a goal while providing engagement and delight in the process, you give users something extra, which results in them coming back. Micro-interactions make it easier for users to navigate and interact through a website which already adds ease and comfort. In addition, they keep users constantly informed and updated through information relevant to their actions (in the form of tips and helpful hints), which increases their time on a page.
In short, micro-interactions provide users with helpful, engaging, and unique experiences that create an emotional connection to the information and the brand as a whole.
How To Make Micro-interactions Successful?
A successful micro-interaction does not draw attention to itself and overshadows the whole design. It must be subtle and occur for a short moment and naturally fade away.
Even though micro-interactions are fun and engaging, users prefer functionality over design. Therefore, micro-interactions must be short moments where functionality meets design to enhance user experience.
Micro-interactions must essentially serve three purposes-
- Make functionality more fun and enhance the usability
- Give the user a feeling of control over the product
- Create a connection between user and design
There are certain do's and don'ts to follow while designing micro-interactions to make them successful.
User satisfaction comes first
As we have said earlier, whatever we are doing is done for the users, and micro-interactions are no exception. Keeping that in mind, UI/UX agencies must conduct tests and retests to ensure that micro-interaction designs are functioning well and are not negatively affecting the overall user experience.
Keep it simple
Since micro-interactions are primarily used to enhance user experience and ease of use, do not make them complicated. Rather, make them simple, formal, and at the same time, fun.
Don't let it overshadow the content
This is an important point to note, especially when the product is not the website or app itself. When a micro-interaction overshadows the product, people are attracted to the interaction rather than the product itself. Since this hype does not make people come back to the website or app forever, it is neither reliable nor stable, and in the end, can affect the product negatively.
If it is not functional, it is not needed
Micro-interactions must be functional and complementary to the product. Do not include design components just for the sake of appeal. Only keep the necessary interactions and work on enhancing their effectiveness.
Don't reinvent the wheel
Users are accustomed to certain types of interactions. Users might feel dissatisfied or even irritated by reinventing or changing them altogether. Make sure that you do not change an old interaction altogether but rather bring minute changes that do not affect the overall interaction.
Tips Of Using Micro-interaction To Improve UX
By following these general guidelines for designing and implementing micro-interactions, you will be able to make a huge impact on your UX.
- Keep your users updated and visually engaged not to make them bored.
- Keep the interactions simple. They are called ‘micro’ for a reason.
- When designing animations, make sure the transitioning between two visuals is smooth, clear, and seamless.
- Focus on user emotions when creating micro-interactions. They play a huge role in UX and user habits.
- Do not create micro-interactions that go against long-established behavioral patterns. Be predictable.
Structure Of Micro-interactions
Micro-interactions are not just a matter of aesthetics but require a structure to make them effective. It mainly has four essential parts-
This initiates a micro-interaction. An example would be clicking a button to turn functionality on and off.
These determine how a micro-interaction responds to a trigger while also defining what happens during the interaction. An example would be what happens when we swipe through Tinder.
This tells the user what is happening during a micro-interaction. An example would be a red alert when we type the wrong password or choose the wrong option. It is a great way to guide the users in proceeding appropriately.
Loops And Modes
These define alternate rules of a micro-interaction and how it changes when used repeatedly. An example would be a ‘Buy now’ button changing to ‘Buy another’ when a previously purchased product.
Best Practices To Follow When Designing Micro-interactions
Here are the top five practices to follow to design good micro-interactions-
Create A Habit Loop
Create a loop of actions users follows as part of their habit. This habit is formed when they do certain actions regularly when they use the product. For example, on Facebook, users click on the notification icon to see their followers' reactions towards their posts. Here, the habit is clicking the notification icon, and the reward is followers' reactions.
Micro-interactions must be highly functional and practical in relation to the product.
Micro-interactions must be intuitive when they respond to the user's actions. Gmail's auto-generated responses depending on the content of the email are a great example.
Drag And Drop
The concept of drag and drop has eliminated several steps that users were previously required to do. In addition, it is a simple and easy-to-understand micro-interaction that is very commonly used in current websites and apps.
Swiping actions contains all the best elements of a good micro-interaction- simple, easy to understand, quick, and fun. It also has habit-looping capabilities, which are insanely addictive.
Tools To Design Micro-interactions
There are many tools to design micro-interactions. Here are a few recommendations-
Based on device
- For mobile- Xcode, Android Studio
- For website- CSS Animation
- For website and mobile- Framer
Based on the type of interaction
- To design interaction between screen-like push and a module- Invision, Marvel
- To create more detailed interactions- Principle, Adobe CC, Origami Studio, Protopie
- To create animations and detailed interactions- After Effects
Though micro-interactions are small or micro, their effect on UX is massive and undeniable. Moreover, they are quite impressive as they provide delight and satisfaction to the users, increasing their engagement with the product and establishing an emotional connection through subtle yet effective ways.
Micro-interactions have the power to transform a good product into a great product and a disengaged user into an engaged user. So why wait? Get connected with a company that provides UI/UX design services and has expertise in micro-interaction design to enhance your product’s user experience.