How Micro-Interactions Enhance UX Design?

How Micro-Interactions Enhance UX Design?
UI Ux Development

Every day thousands of mobile apps are deployed globally, among them only a few gain much-needed user traction, and some get a decent reach, whereas a majority of apps fail to mark their presence in the competitive market. There are numerous responsible factors that play a vital role in the failure of an app, and User Experience (UX) is one of them. There are multiple aspects of UX designing that can be taken care of to save the app from failure. But, the one we will focus on is micro-interactions, which play a significant role of motion design in the User Interface (UI) engagements.

Micro-Interactions are the most subtle yet vital part of the UI interactions in an app design. The users might not acknowledge small interactions, but micro-interactions in UI design make the app interactive and engaging. For example, giving Likes to Facebook posts, scrollbar, pull to refresh animation, and animation referring to web page loading progress, all this becomes possible with micro-integrations which ultimately enhances the user experience by bringing emotion in every motion.

With evolving market trends, micro-interactions are gaining importance and engaging developers and digital strategists to build an intuitive user experience within the app. Now, without much ado, let’s understand the concept of micro-interaction in building UX design, its importance, types, and how to use it effectively while developing the mobile application.

What are Micro-Interactions?

Micro-Interactions are quick and small interface responses for every tiny action/activity performed by a user in the app. The micro-interactions in the UI/UX development allows user to follow and analyze the taken action positively without even knowing with distinct triggers.

As a user when we perform any in-app action, we want to know what is happening in the background. It is the time when micro-interactions play a role in bringing emotion with functional animations that acknowledges our actions by giving visual feedback. These tiny design touches help us to understand that our actions have been recognized and accepted.

Every micro-interaction design has three primary functions to perform;

  • It provides instant feedback
  • It enhances user interaction
  • It makes the user experience more engaging, without deviating them from the main task

Let’s take an example of micro-interaction to understand it in layman’s terms- a simple and interactive heart (love) symbol from Facebook. It not only demonstrates user reaction or feedback on a post but also provides the user a sense of being in control. Additionally, such little interactions with the app make the user interface and apps design quite engaging, interactive, and fun as well.

The user experience is the essence of any mobile application; however, the micro-interactions are providing a much enhanced humanized touch to the app while presenting the user behaviour. Hence, it is considered to keep Micro-Interactions UI/UX Design very simple, small, and adaptable to long-term usability.

Types of Micro-Interactions

There is a great variety of micro-interactions to enhance the UX design and their number remains growing with the advancement in technology and rapid deviations in user demands. In this reference, some of the common micro-interactions that exist in this tech-prone world are:

  • Tap effects
  • Tap and hold effects
  • Swipe Effects
  • Scroll-into-view
  • Pull-to-Refresh
  • Button State Changes
  • Interactive/Animated Progress Bar Status
  • Sound
  • Errors
  • Tactile
  • Mouse Over/Hover Effects
  • Slide-in/out
  • Page Transitions (fade, explode, etc.)
  • System Feedback
  • Page Translation (Google Page Translation)
  • Theme based Captcha
  • Micro-Animation to Present a New Setting or Location
  • Call to Action, etc.

Structure of an Effective Micro-Interaction

Whenever the app development companies or the professional app developers build the app, they follow the latest UI/UX designing trends that are widely accepted among the users and the market. Wherein, micro-interactions provide a much more interactive user interface with a single purpose that can be integrated into the app at every point.

The micro-interactions are categorized into 4 parts, which work in sync to deliver an enhanced UX design.

1. Trigger

Trigger is the first phase that initiates the interaction. It takes place when the user or the system initiates the interaction with the application. To activate the trigger, specific requirements need to be fulfilled.

For example; when the user is typing a password and in any case, entered it incorrectly. Then the application prompts it as an incorrect password and asks if the user has forgotten the password and like to recover or change it.

In this example, writing the wrong password is the trigger to generate a warning message and facilitates the user to change or recover it. These triggers are either user-initiated or the system initiates them.

2. Rules

The second phase of micro-interaction is Rules. It determines the consequences or next actions to be taken when the trigger of micro-interaction has been initiated. In continuation with the above example, the rule is when the system itself asks the user to change or recover the password if s/he forgot it.

The rule will provide the condition which supports micro-interaction to occur. From the users' end, these rules shouldn’t be visible, only the UI/UX designer should be aware of them, and propose the rules that suitably fit the needs of the users.

3. Feedback

The third phase of micro-interaction is feedback, which let the user understand why this thing is happening or occurring. The feedback can be presented in visual, audio, or audio-visuals on the screen. It makes the user aware that the micro-interaction has been triggered or has started working now.

Again considering the above example in reference to understanding the feedback concept- the feedback presents or showcases the message that the password is wrong and needed to be re-type or can change the password if needed.

4. Loops and Modes

The fourth part of micro-interactions determines meta-rules to define to determine and proposes the suitable solution for the changes in requirements or conditions. In this phase, the loop defines the length and repetition of occurrence of the micro-interactions- referring to the same example, the number of times the user is allowed to enter the incorrect password.

On the other hand, modes in micro-interactions define what happens if the user fails to move ahead or resolve the issue under the process. Thus, referring to the example, here modes take care of, if the user entered incorrect password thrice at a time, then the account gets blocked.

Tools to Design Micro-Interactions

There are a number of prototyping tools that support interactive UI designing for mobile applications. However, designers use to prefer certain specific tools to cater to micro-interactions tasks.

  • Designers who are familiar with Coding
    • Mobile: XCode, Android studio
    • Mobile or Web: Framer
    • Web: CSS Animation
  • Designers who like to design a Micro-Interaction between a screen like push and a module
    • Invision, and
    • Marvel
  • To design a detailed Micro-Interaction
    • Principle
    • Adobe CC,
    • Origami Studio and
    • Protopie
  • To design a detailed user interaction with animation effects
    • After Effects

How Micro-Interactions Important for the UX Design?

The micro-interactions are not only confined to building a better user experience but can deliver a lot more than that to the end-users. It can brilliantly enhance the rate of interaction, provide accurate real-time details, and give the user the impression that their experience is one of the prior responsibilities. They can even guide the user with some valuable tips or instructions to use the platform effortlessly and in a hassle-free manner.

1. Boost User Retention

Accurate processing of micro-interaction gives a sense of satisfaction to users and provides a moment of delightfulness. Overall, all these interactive happy moments enhance the user experience along with improving the chances that users will prefer the product/platform again and will continue to do so. Hence, it promotes app user retention rate and returning traffic on websites.

2. System Status Display

The transparency in using the app and letting users be aware of their activities gives them a sense of control. The user feels authorized and as a result, they like to interact more with the application. This authority to the user by displaying system status becomes possible only with micro-interactions, as they are equipped with triggers and feedback.

3. Enhances Branding

The tiny user interactions can enhance the user experience and provide quite a fascinating environment to the user. It also helps them to realize the importance and quality of your product and make it the best fit. The micro-interactions support businesses to establish their brand individuality and make it impressive for users.

4. Boost Intuitiveness and Usability

The micro-interactions boost the usability of the product and make it perfect for users if implemented in the right manner. These micro-interactions are a method to update the user with regular feedback. It informs the user that what the system is doing and updates the user on when the actions have been successfully executed on the application or website.

Best Practices to Build A Successful Micro-Interaction in Web Design

Even a tiny micro-interaction can deliver a huge impact on designing an effective and successful user experience. It helps to design a brilliant platform and promote your product to engage users and make it an outstanding market competitor.

Here, are a few best practices to build a successful micro-interaction while designing an application or a website.

  1. Quick Response Time- The instant and immediate response time on the application website, gives the user a sense of control. The ideal response time should be within 0.1 seconds.
  1. Functional Micro-Interactions- Each micro-interaction should have a purpose to ensure accurate deliverables. As a result, it encourages the user to interact with the specific feature of the website, this becomes possible only when the micro-interactions are well designed and highly functional in their nature.
  2. Keep it Simple- The micro-interactions should be easy and straightforward for the user to operate effortlessly. As these features are infused into the app or website to enhance user experience and make all operations look and feel clean. Therefore, keeping micro-interactions simple is the key.
  3. Follow Platform Context and User Research- Getting aware of your users and the context of the micro-interactions will make the user experience more effective and precise. Ensure the animation and visual presentation are accurate and suitable for the platform.
  1. Follow a Long-Term and Futuristic Approach- The major aspect of designing a micro-interaction is that it delivers a natural and simplistic feel so that the user doesn’t even notice them the most. And if they noticed it, then it should be because the user had a very pleasant experience with the platform. So, while designing the micro-interaction, always consider the part on how the unique introduction to the platform will hold up over time.
  1. Experiment and Test- Before introducing anything new in the market, it should be market tested first. Likewise, for the micro-interaction design, understand the market response first. Ensure to collect a wide variety of user feedback and experiment with multiple ways to carry out the same operations.

To Conclude:

Micro-Interactions are the designer’s best friend and support user to perform a specific task. If it is done perfectly, then it can attract amazing value to your website or applications’ user experience. There are multiple ways of enhancing user experience and if implemented accurately, then rarely things can go out of the way. Additionally, it is vital to understand when and how to avail benefits of each micro-interaction in UI/UX designing.

Micro-Interactions will continue to have great importance among the UI/UX designers for web and mobile application development. These interactive designs are the essence of modern user-focused design, no application or website can interact effectively to users without them.

At Codiant, you can hire an expert Team of UI/UX designers and developers that hones offbeat excellence in creating immersive design touches that explains a lot without using a word. Our UI/UX development team builds a highly interactive and well-structured end-product that thrills the user every time they tap on the screen and keeps them coming back. If you are looking for such assistance, then reach out to us to build a world-class user experience.

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