Microinteractions are often thought as popups . When you change a setting, set an alarm, play a song, like a Facebook post, pick a password, log in, set a status message, you’re engaging with a microinteraction. Microinteractions are everywhere, in every app, website and appliance, even embedded in the environments we live and work in.
In fact, some microinteractions can be utilitarian and forgotten or be so interesting and memorable that they become part of the brand.
Why are important?
Microinteractions are good for:
completing a task
linking devices together
interacting with a single piece of data such as the temperature
controlling an ongoing process such as music volume
adjusting a setting
viewing or creating a small piece of content like a status message
turning a feature or function on or off
Microinteractions does not usually get big attention. However, Microinteractions are usually what is dismissively referred to as ‘product hygiene': something users just expect to be there. The difference between products we like and those we ignore are often the microinteractions we set with them.
You can delete what is boring and forgotten and make it something enjoyable and memorable, and thus increase adoption and customer loyalty. If you care about user experience, you should care about microinteractions.
The Structure of Microinteractions
With an understanding of user desires and of the context of use, you can make the best microinteractions. A beautiful microinteraction should be included four parts: a trigger, the rules, feedback and loops.
The trigger is what starts a microinteraction. This can be a manual control, such as when a user clicks a button, or an icon, fills out a form.
Another kind of trigger which is more interesting: the system trigger. For example: An email message comes and your computer pings, that’s a system trigger. The best system triggers can anticipate the user’s expectation without the user telling it out. This usually means observing user behavioural data and making assumptions about what that data means.
Rules define what can and cannot be done with the microinteraction. Rules determine what happens and which order they happen when the user clicks the icon or set an alarm…This flow should include determining what actions most people take most of the time, and building those in as smart defaults.
Rules can prevent human error by fixing or avoiding actions that would destroy the microinteraction.
How users understand microinterractions is through “feedback”. Feedback lets people know what’s happening. Feedback can be visual, aural, or haptic, with visual being the most prevalent for the simple reason we’re usually looking at what we’re interacting with.
With microinteractions, the least amount of feedback you can provide, the better. Feedback is the place to put an image of personality to your microinteraction. Sometimes a little bit of humour can work very well – particularly in situations that can be frustrating, such as an error message or when something is taking a long time to load.
Loops & Modes
The last part of microinteractions are loops and modes. Loops and Modes determine the meta-rules of the microinteraction.
Loops dicide how long the microinteraction goes on for. Long loops can help extend your microinteraction into the future, asking you to consider what happens when the user returns the second time, then tenth time, the thousandth time with your microinteraction.
Modes should generally be avoided in microinteractions, unless there’s an infrequent yet essential action that would otherwise disrupt the flow of the microinteraction. For example, the ‘forgot your password?’ mode in a login.
By placing a trigger, rules, feedback, maybe a loop or mode together, you may build a polished microinteraction and make it something that helps users enjoy your product.
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-Source: Microinteractions in Web Development
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