Why microinteractions are essential for a seamless experience.
On a daily basis, millions of people interact with their smartphones and computer to perform several activities. In between these activities, there are tiny subtle actions placed to delight a user.. these are microinteractions.
These tiny microinteractions can make the experience between the user and the device/product more fun, interactive, easy and human. These are designed in a subtle manner that they are almost invisible and users may not notice them.
In spite of being a technical element, microinteractions have the power to turn anything boring and dead into something fun and colourful. Designers wish to create a platform that works well, without any bugs and which is easy to use that leaves the user with a perfect experience.
All roads lead to a human centred design approach, where the user is the prime focus. Often considered accessory or secondary, microinteractions actually create a feeling of well-being once they are discovered by users.
Microinteractions is a way through which you can converse with your users emotionally. It is the only way you can add a human touch through technology, while also encouraging users to come back for more.
What are micro-interactions?
Microinteractions are subtle gestures that concentrate on one small task. Almost all applications use these today.
There are two important design elements that attract users- the features and the details
The features attract them to use the product while the details are what thrills them
Microinteractions have to be designed to thrill the users.
As first described in Dan Saffer’s book Microinteractions, these tiny details typically serve these essential functions: (TO PUT OR REMOVE?)
- Communicate feedback or the result of an action.
- Accomplish an individual task.
- Enhance the sense of direct manipulation.
- Help users visualize the results of their actions and prevent errors.
What will microinteractions add to your UX?
- Accomplishing a single task and a single task only
- Attentive to a single piece of data, such as the temperature or rating a song
- Controlling an ongoing process, such as the volume for a song on Spotify
- Adjusting a setting
- Viewing or creating a small piece of content, like a status on Facebook
- Turning a feature or function on or off
Why should you incorporate microinteractions into your designs?
- To create an impeccable user experience with subtle transitions
- They should be a delight to the eye which is why it should be designed in a manner that is appealing
- They can generate a soothing look and feel
- They help guide users through the process flow in an intuitive and easy way
Microinteractions are actions that trigger another action, it passes on. Technically it consist of:
Trigger — Like the word suggests, a trigger is what initiates an interaction. It is a like a virtual prompt that persuades the user to take actions. It is like a one-click action. Some of the best triggers are those that anticipate the users need without them having to state it. Designers can create triggers that can satisfy users.
Rules — The triggers have to work in accordance with your planned out rules, like a chalked out reaction to rules. These rules should be natural and easy for the user to understand as their mere reason of existence to minimize errors.
Feedback — Feedback is based on the rules and it keeps the user informed about what is occurring currently. It is how designs communicate with the users.
Loops — This is basic looking at the larger picture, determining how long would they go on for and how they change over time.
Things to keep in mind while designing Microinteractions and why they are important:
Microinteractions are a good way for designers to experiment with design solutions and insert new ways of attracting the users. Whether you are an app developer or a designer here are a few things to keep in mind before you start:
Don’t start from nothing
Before you jump into designing your microinteractions, conduct a baseline research to understand your customer, get their behavioural data. This information will help you decide the kind of design to create to give the user a useful and effective experience. If they repeatedly come back, find out what their motivations are and make your microinteractions based on that.
Don’t over design it
Microinteractions should look good and feel good, they should not be awkward or time consuming to load. While microinteractions have a smooth flow, they should not drift away from their purpose. Over-designing can even tick off a user and you surely don’t want that.
Keep it simple
Keep the design as minimalistic as you can — simple type, simple language and appealing colours. Microinteractions should save time by communicating immediately without the user losing their interest or getting bored. They should catch the user’s attention like a sly wink.
Designing a microinteraction may look easy but it is not. Stick to a unified design and a colour scheme that goes well with your brand. Their whole job is to serve a single task but the animation should also be visually appealing.
Add an interactive animation but don’t push it
Develop an animation that is not only aesthetic but also that enhances the user experience. Work on it in such a way that it does not hinder the user. Animations should make microinteractions pleasing, they should be able to grab attention and bring the user interface to life.
Keep it as human as possible. These subtle and effective microinteraction are the only way you can add a touch of human into your platform. Adding humour is a good way to bring in emotional reactions into a user experience.
Consider each detail with care
Microinteractions revolves around its details. Too many animations can annoy the user making them step away from the app. Every element of the design matters so ensure you have perfected it before you launch.
Put yourself in the user’s shoe and figure out how they would want to feel. If they come back the 20th time or the 100th time, the interactions should yet keep them engaged. These smart details will set you apart from everything else.
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