Microinteractions: The Hidden Fact Behind Great App Design

An example of a microinteraction that we experience in daily life.

Features and details are the most important elements of any great product. While features attract your target audience, details retain them. So, what do details entail? They are the elements that give your product a competitive edge over others.

So, if you need an exceptional technique that allows awesome feedback, microinteractions should be at the top of your list.

Nowadays, everything focuses on human-centered design techniques. With these techniques, the user is the most important piece of the puzzle. It makes the user the main focus of the product.

After they have been identified by users, microinteractions offer them a sense of wellbeing. Any designer must understand the need to prioritize both designing and invisibility of microinteractions. As a designer, you must design a product that feels human and has the ability to get the job done.

What does microinteraction entail?

Let’s take a look at the meaning of microinteraction. Microinteractions refer to the product moments that ensure the accomplishment of a simple task.

According to the definition of the term in the book Microinteractions which was written by Dan Saffer, these small details perform various roles including:

  • Execute an individual function
  • Provide feedback or the outcome of an action
  • Improve the feeling of direct manipulation
  • Assist users to see the outcomes of their actions and avoid any mistakes

Here are some examples that shed more light on what microinteractions mean:

  • The silent mode icon, as well as vibration notice, can be seen on your iPhone when you switch to the mute mode.
  • Interface animation that depicts that it can be clicked – a button that has the ability to change color once you switch it.

The Logic behind the Function of Microinteractions

Basically, microinteractions rely on the natural desire of the users for acknowledgment. Every user has the desire of knowing whether their action was successful or not. Hence, they get some satisfaction from seeing it. Similarly, microinteractions can help users to understand how the system functions.

Taking Advantage of the Opportunities provided by Microinteractions

One of the most exceptional things about microinteractions is their widespread applications. They fit perfectly into different areas and various actions.

However, they are mostly used to:

Display system status

According to Jakob Nielsen’s first usability heuristic principle, it is essential to inform your users about the thing that is happening. Also, users want to get instant feedback. However, in some cases, an app requires a few moments before completing a particular action.

Therefore, the interface comes in handy to inform the users about what is going on.

NB: Avoid killing the interest of your user with boredom. Utilize the loading bar and other elements to let them know what is going on.

Make Changes Obvious

In some cases, it is important to display notifications before the user can be aware of them. Animation plays a key role in this case. It keeps the users glued to the screen without allowing them to overlook those things that are essential.

NB: In lots of situations, the essence of animation effects is to draw the attention of users to the things that are vital. Don’t forget the KISS principle – smallness and simplicity are the key elements of microinteraction.

Retain Context

For movement between navigational contexts, take advantage of motion and describe changes in the way elements are arranged on a screen. Smartwatches and mobile devices require this most because one screen can only take limited sets of information.

NB: Ensure there is distinctive navigation between various pages. This allows the user to know what is coming from a particular side. As two visual states transition, don’t forget the importance of clarity, effortlessness, and smoothness. 

View Input

Every application needs data input. And with the help of micro-interactions, the process becomes unique. Utilize existing components to provide feedback.

NB: Use microinteractions to show information and achieve your target.

Call to Action

Microinteractions are capable of making users interact. They integrate empathy into the experience of the user. However, it is essential to utilize the right animations and visual cues. While doing all these, don’t forget longevity. Is microinteraction going to become unappealing after using it several times? Will it remain distinctive and unhindered?

NB: User emotions go a long way in determining the interactions of users; so, you must prioritize it. Context and user research are keys. Also, consider the need for repeated use in your design.

Important Takeaways

  • Microinteractions promote interactions by using instructions, notifications, and feedback.
  • Microinteractions must be time-saving through immediate communication to prevent user’s boredom or distraction.
  • The effectiveness and precision of microinteractions rely heavily on understanding their contexts and users.
  • Long-term use is a must for microinteractions. What tends to be exciting at the beginning may look boring and frustrating after several usages.
  • Humanity and visual harmony must be present in microinteraction. The motion must have an element of smoothness.

In a nutshell, you should focus on how individuals work and utilize their devices as you design your product. Don’t leave out any important aspects so that you can build a good interaction between humans and their computers.

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