Even if we don’t always notice them, micro-interactions play a significant role in our digital lives. We encounter micro-interactions all day, from the time your phone’s alarm wakes you up in the morning to like your friends’ Facebook posts to receiving notifications about new emails and Instagram messages.
They are also something a digital product designer, should consider and plan for. Are we consciously looking for ways to surprise and delight our users as we design and build new things? There are places in most designs where a little animation and feedback can go a long way toward improving the user experience.
Still confused? Let’s get some clarity!
What is Micro-Interaction?
Micro-interactions are small details that can be in the form of animations, functionalities and creative displays, etc., that assist the user by providing visual feedback and more clearly displaying changes.
Micro-Interactions include a large number of digital elements, but not all of them are included in a micro-interaction. Because they lack a distinct trigger, static elements that are always present on the screen are not micro-interactions. Flows composed of multiple actions are also not micro-interactions. Micro-interactions are classified into two types: user-triggered and system-triggered.
Here are a few examples of micro-interactions for a better understanding
- Swipe animation
- Digital alarm
What is the Importance of Micro-Interactions for a Design?
Sometimes, while developing a product, we lose sight of our primary goal: to influence human behavior. Now, before you object, please hear me out. We create digital products that people will use multiple times. We want them to use our product frequently and repeatedly as if it were a habit. Micro-interactions aid in the formation of habits, which are essential for changing human behavior.
At Stellar Digital, we are big fans of good design around here. Our designers focus on the details of our client’s products to find opportunities for micro-interactions (and habit-forming experiences) to implement in their designs. A user is drawn to a product by its features, but it is the details that entice the user to stay. In case, something goes wrong with micro-interactions, they instantly divert a user’s attention away from the production workflow.
Micro-interactions improve user engagement at a low cost. Humans want to maximize their rewards while minimizing their costs. If you can create an experience that accomplishes a goal while also providing a bit of delight, you’re giving the user something extra. That is what keeps people returning.
The Four Main Components of Micro-Interaction
Micro-interaction comprises four main parts
Triggers cause a micro-interaction to occur. Triggers can be initiated by the user or by the system. A user-initiated trigger requires the user to act. A system-initiated trigger occurs when the software detects that certain qualifications are met and initiates an action.
When a micro-interaction is triggered, rules determine what happens next.
Feedback informs people about what is going on. Feedback is anything a user sees, hears, or feels while a micro-interaction is taking place.
Loops and modes
The meta-rules of the micro-interaction are determined by Loops and Modes. For example, what happens to a micro-interaction when the circumstances change?
The Framework of a Successful Micro-Interaction
Follow these general guidelines for designing and implementing the framework of micro-interactions, and you’ll be well on your way to improving your user experience
- Maintain a straightforward approach. There’s a reason they’re called micro-interactions.
- Transitioning between two visuals should be clear, smooth, and effortless if you’re using animation for a page or state changes.
- Micro-interactions are not the place to experiment with breaking long-standing patterns (such as “green means go, red means stop”).
- Be consistent. Users’ attention is drawn to a set of behavioral patterns.
- Pay attention to the user’s emotions. They have a significant impact on user interactions and habits.
The Bottom Line
Micro can be macro in UX design. Micro-interactions can be brief, but their impact on the user experience is undeniable. A good animation or sound design can hook users, whereas a bad design can turn them off. Furthermore, these minor occurrences have marketing value.
Even though they are small, they can be tricky. It is necessary to learn how to adjust one’s subtlety as well as their relevance to the rest of the product. All of this is placed on the shoulders of the UX designer, but it is no burden other than the ability to use the digital realm’s most powerful weapon.
Therefore, make sure that the graphic design company you approach contains a team with great expertise and an eye for every detail.