Web & Digital Design
Engage, delight, and hook users with micro interactions
Micro interactions are dynamic visual cues that can help create an outstanding user experience.
Whether it’s the dots that appear as a friend types, the colorful bar that indicates the strength of a password, or the glowing circle nudging you to tap, microinteractions play a critical part in augmenting a user’s experience online. These visual responses during everyday actions are engagement gold, yet through their sheer pervasiveness are easily overlooked.
Why are these cues so powerful? Although we may not always pick up on them, these subtle responses take advantage of our desire for feedback during the course of everyday online activities.
Let’s examine a few ways microinteractions enhance our experience online. They can:
Serve as delightful rewards
Perhaps the most addictive use of these visual cues can be seen on social media, where habit-forming microinteractions are part of a reward system that keeps users hungering for more. Facebook began with mere “likes” and notifications, but its reactions have now expanded to become animated emojis (during COVID-19, a smiley face hugging a heart even appeared as a “care” reaction). On Instagram, you can “heart” a direct message, and blogging sites like Medium let you “clap” for an article. In this way, not only do we get feedback, but we get positive feedback.
Teach and reassure us
Microinteractions aren’t just about creating dopamine spikes; they can also be thoughtfully implemented to help us learn new programs and tools. An animation directing us to swipe to the next screen keeps us engaged with a tutorial rather than skipping ahead too quickly. Progress bars let us know how much “work” is left in a program and motivate us to keep going. Language learning app Duolingo makes use of progress meters that become complete after only three lessons, a way to keep users from feeling overwhelmed by too much information and rewarded after only a short time.
Provide entertainment and direct our attention
An animation can entertain us for a few seconds when we’re waiting for a screen to load and—if done well—can endear us to a brand or company. That animated “done” that pops up after the wait feels like a virtual high-five. One could even argue that these microinteractions serve to subconsciously gamify everyday life. Microinteractions can tell us where we are in an experience and what to do next. For example, a highlighted icon can let us know what tab we’re on in a multi-page app or encourage us to take a new action. On mobile, subtle nudges like this can save precious screen space and help reduce the need for additional text.
Over time, these small cues have the potential to increase our fondness for a product or brand. It’s a no-brainer to use microinteractions, and users today will certainly notice when they’re missing (even if they may not be able to articulate exactly what they’re looking for). That said, microinteractions ought to be subtle enhancements rather than overdesigned or gimmicky. When done right, they will only add to an elevated and memorable experience.
https://uxdesign.cc/micro-interactions-a-superpower-of-successful-design-ef7706154934 https://medium.muz.li/top-7-microinteractions-and-their-impact-on-ux-e3db6d3ac14f https://uxplanet.org/micro-interaction-great-experience-for-user-engagement-b37446bf6306