How to improve the UX of your app / website with micro-interactions?
Micro-interactions are small details that transform a basic user experience into a, particularly meaningful experience.
They are ubiquitous in our everyday life: unlocking the smartphone until the completion of his password, through an online purchase. We were inspired by this excellent article to teach you all about how to use micro-interactions to boost the user experience of your website.
What are micro-interactions?
Micro-interactions are what happens when people use small features that exist in a place with a lot of features. Micro-interactions may be part of a product – or may even be the product itself.
For example, a toaster does just one thing, has only one function: you put sliced bread in the toaster and press the button. It’s easy. A toaster is a device that produces a unique micro-interaction. In the same way, small applications can be composed of a single micro-interaction. Like on Facebook is an example of successful micro-interactions. If Facebook was offering a product that did not have a “Like” button, you might ask yourself, “Why did they get rid of the” Like “button?”
It’s all about interaction and product details for micro-interactions. And, it’s not just details, it’s also design. The difference between a product with a good UX and a “strange” product is often found in micro-interactions. Micro-interactions are based on a user-centered design approach. A lack of attention to a tiny detail can quickly trigger a domino effect of dissatisfaction among your customers.
А. Definition and types
Micro-interactions must be simple, short, and easy to use. For example, a music player is a feature; adjust the volume is a micro-interaction inside this feature. Each micro-interaction within the interface performs its own function.
B. Effective micro-interaction: do’s and don’ts
In your design process, you must pay attention to every detail. For example, too much animation will “scramble” your hierarchy, and your message will be lost. Sophie Paxton explained this in her article “Your UI is not a Disney movie”: “Think of each animated item in your UI as the equivalent of a title in a written document. It should be used only to signal the importance of an element. When creating a visual containing micro-interactions, follow these principles:
- Make UX micro-interactions invisible and functional. Make sure that micro-animations do not seem to be a problem. Common and minor actions require a modest response. Occasional and major actions require a solid response.
- Keep long-term use in mind. What seems like fun the first time could become stressful after repeated use.
- Follow the KISS principle. Over-design of a micro-interaction can be a problem, resulting in a long loading process.
- Do not start from scratch. You always know something about your target audience and the context. Use this knowledge to make your micro-interactions more effective and powerful.
- Create a visual harmony with other elements of the user interface. Pay attention to detail to create a perfect micro-interaction.
- Absorb the complexity. Determine where the complexity of your interface and micro-interactions lie, then decide which parts the user would like to have.
- Coordination. Do not forget the physical principles. Human eyes have special mechanisms to see the lines. According to Fitts’ law, we can better see horizontal and vertical lines than oblique lines or circles.
- Evolution. Your micro-animation should not behave the same way every time it’s used. If you want your design to shine, you have to keep things interesting.
C. The structure of micro-interactions
The size and structure of the micro-interactions make them effective. Dan Saffer describes 4 parts of micro-interaction in his book “Microinteractions: Designing with Details”. They are triggers, rules, feedback, loops, and modes.
The trigger is that moment when the micro-interactions begin. It can be initiated by users when a user clicks a button or icon or fills a form. It is known as a manual trigger. Another type of trigger is the system trigger. This trigger works when a particular condition or set of conditions is met. The most effective system triggers predict what the user wants, based on his activity data.
The second part of the micro-interactions are the rules. The rules of the “game” of micro-interaction are described by a designer. Lighting a light is the simplest micro-interaction. Once you use the shutter (a switch), the light turns on. There is a rule: the light stays on until the switch is off.
The rules determine what action occurs and in what order – when the user presses this button or when a message arrives. They are invisible and direct users through the “interaction” part of the micro-interaction. Users want a sense of natural flow throughout the process (from trigger to feedback).
Feedback is about knowing how to understand the rules. There are three main types of comments: visual, audio, and haptic. The visual is the most dominant because we tend to look with what / who we interact with.
When you type the correct password with an incorrect username, Facebook will prompt you for the correct username and ask you to retype the password.
With a little humor, feedback will add personality to your micro-interactions.
Loops and modes
Loops and modes are the last elements of micro-interactions. The loops determine the duration of the micro-interaction. Consider what happens when the user comes back again and again. Long loops help extend your micro-interaction so that it changes and adapts over time. Thus, triggers initiate micro-interaction, rules determine how it works and generate feedback, and loops and modes specify what happens over time with micro-interaction.
Why do micro-interactions work?
Micro-interactions usually receive very little attention. They are designed to be invisible. Users simply expect them to be there. After all, no one comes on your app to take advantage of the password change feature. Jakob Nielsen has developed ten general ideas for interaction design, called “heuristics”.
Visibility of the system state is the first principle of the user interface. The device must always inform users of what is happening. Micro-interactions are used to provide the right feedback within a reasonable time. Often, they take the form of micro-animations in a larger interface hierarchy.
What is really useful are micro-animations in a slow mobile interface. With the help of micro-animations, the user will see the elements of the interface. They create a focus of attention and save time, without distracting the user. UX micro-interactions work because of the user’s natural desire for recognition.
Users instantly know that their action has been accepted and get a visible reward. Similarly, the micro-interactions will guide users on the operation of the device. If you care about UX, you should be concerned about micro-interactions. Take the boring stuff and tweak it into something that users will appreciate. There are three ways to work with micro-interactions:
- Look for them and focus on each of them;
- Reduce a complicated feature to a basic micro-interaction;
- Treat each feature as a set of linked micro-interactions.
Fusion of micro-interactions in your UX
To summarize, if you set up a trigger, rules, feedback, maybe a loop or a mode, you can create a micro-interaction. It will turn something boring into a clear UX that will help users enjoy your product.
Benefits of micro-interactions in your interface
Animation between pages
Micro-animation brings an elegant transition between the states of the interface and improves the UX of your application. The user gets a better overview of where he was previously and where he is now. In addition, micro-animations focus on the most important details.
Infinite Scrolling associated with an animation
Micro-animation in the Pilar steps application is a great way to show users the progress of the scrollbar. Users see the connection between their action and the scrolling of the content. Customization and indicators are the perfect way to search for photos or records on a specific date.
Status bar of a download
Use micro-animations to inform about the loading status of a page for example. In this example, the micro-animation also shows how many megabytes are already downloaded. The animated progress bar adds more fun to a boring action.
Micro-animation allows a user to create an association with your product and interact more quickly with the application. They display the actual changes in an elegant way.
An action to update the content becomes a highlight of your UX design with a thoughtful and unique micro-animation. Use colored animations to warn the user that the page is loading and show when the download is complete.
A call-to-action (CTA) responsive
Responsive micro-animation encourages a user to act on your call to action (CTA). This is an essential reason for a user to interact more often with your interface.
Motion Design makes forms fun
Micro-animation improves the annoying process of filling out forms with elements of fun and interactivity. Users do not hesitate to fill out the entire form even if they have to enter their email address several times.
Styling anchor text animations
Anchor text animations give your design a singularity and show a creative UX design approach. These net effects are particularly sought after in minimalist interfaces.
On / off
Micro-animation can handle annoying elements such as an on / off switch. With animation, which stops when the application is disabled, users receive instant feedback on their interaction.
One of the most common uses of micro-animation is with content scanning. Micro-animation transforms a familiar scanning gesture into a single interface, while the user views the content in a continuous stream.
Highlight the changes
With micro-animations, the user receives an immediate response to his action from the interface. When you click a button, each element of the interface responds smoothly and each design block changes to a new state.
The importance of micro-interactions for your UX
Micro-interactions improve the UX of your application/website and help users remember your brand. They make digital experiences not only easy but also engaging. The reflection on the small details shows that some attention has been paid to users and their needs. And that’s exactly what they want to feel. Through micro-interactions, you can improve people’s lives and stay at the forefront of the web development industry.
If you need help with designing your website, have a look at my portfolio and let’s discuss!