“If individual interactions are the cells that make up the UX, then microinteractions are the atoms within the cells.”
- Jerry Cao
We can understand how microorganisms work within living creatures (or…well…some people may…), but can we understand well enough how microinteractions work within systems to make the absolute best use of them? Are they working for us or are we putting in more work than necessary?
A look at Microinteractions
Dan Saffer wrote the book on microinteractions (literally… with his book titled Microinteractions). He describes microinteraction essential functions as: completing isolated and individual tasks (i.e. linking devices and providing comments or reactions to posts), providing feedback and results for various actions, preventing user errors, or altering settings.
Microinteractions work in a continuous four-step series. The trigger initiates an action. Once an action is in motion, the rules dictate how interactions occur. Feedback is then provided for users on the desired interactions. As stated above, this feedback is a key function for any good user interface. Data then filters through loops and modules continuously flowing through these patterns.
Microinteractions provide a user-friendly interface and play in to the natural human desire for immediate feedback. Users know immediately if an action or setting alteration was accepted and are given information soon after the input is provided. This immediate feedback is also immediately noticeable if not present. Users have come to expect a certain degree of ease and professionalism in interfacing. Users don’t want to have to be an expert in computer science to get things to work…that’s your job.
Companies that embrace microinteractions can set themselves apart from others in terms of online customer support and with user-friendly interfacing. At some point in time, nearly everyone has used an application that had horrible feedback or that was difficult to navigate. A good interface and feedback loop can change anyone’s feelings toward the process, the project, or even the business as a whole.
Consumers dictate the supply and demand for all technology and services. Good user-interfaces and microinteractions make all the difference. Consumers look for these things and choose to use certain products over other options based solely on interfacing. Users look for the easiest to navigate and most aesthetically pleasing interfacing. Have you thought about upping your microinteraction game? It’ll set you apart, and you don’t even need to learn microbiology.