What are Microinteractions and Why Should I Care?

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Don’t be fooled by the “micro” in microinteractions. They are of great importance, especially when it comes to retaining users on your digital platforms. It makes the difference between a decent or amazing website user experience. Further, today’s users expect microinteractions to be streamlined, without it, they tend to lose patience and move on to a different website altogether.

So what is a micro interaction? Microinteractions are interactions with a certain digital platform or product to accomplish a single task. Today, we will be focusing on digital microinteractions, which can be anything from sending an email to watching a video.

Before anything else, it’s important to define the objective of the microinteraction: What do you want your user to accomplish? Submitting a customer review? Sending an email? After answering that question, we can move on to the four components of a microinteraction.

1. Trigger

Let’s say that your microinteraction is for your user to subscribe to your emailing list. A trigger is the action needed to start that process. It can be manual, such as clicking a “Subscribe to Mailing List” button, or automatic, such as a pop-up every time the user enters a certain page.

The key to an exceptional microinteraction is to anticipate what the user wants and have them complete as little work as possible. Therefore, although a pop-up prompting a user to subscribe to an emailing list may save users from an extra click, it might cost. Users may not want to subscribe and have to click to exit pop-up.

2. Rules

Rules define what can and cannot happen when you trigger a microinteraction. For an optimal user experience, designers need to make the rules as efficient as possible. If you decide to create a microinteraction so that a customer can post a product review, the rules might include a text box for written comments and stars for the customer to click-rate the product.

Rules should also help catch human error. For example, Gmail prompts the user before they send an email if he or she uses the word “attachment” in your message, but forgot to attach a file.

3. Feedback

Feedback communicates to your users what the rules are, and many times, its visual. As such, the “Google Search” button below the Google search engine conveys to the user that clicking the button leads to search results.

4. Loops and Modes

Loops account for how many times a microinteraction is repeated, if at all. In order to adapt to the user actions, loops may change the microinteraction, depending on the number of times it is repeated. For example, as YouTube users watch more and more videos, Youtube begins to create a “Recommended for You” videos.

Modes, on the other hand, are infrequent actions that closely relate to the microinteraction. They are not a separate microinteraction to reduce. The “Forgot Your Password” link is one example of a mode.

Here at Ready Artwork, we put much thought into creating superior digital microinteractions for our clients’ websites. Further, we make sure that each microinteraction aligns with our clients’ overall objectives. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us or give us a call at 626.400.4511 and we’ll be glad to help!