How to Use Microinteractions in Web Design

As 2016 draws to a close, most web designers and digital professionals are already looking forward to the trends of 2017. One of the trends making the most impact is the use of microinteractions.

So what is a microinteraction?

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It’s a single task that in turn triggers a particular action or process. It’s the word “single” that’s critical in understanding microinteractions. Think about “liking” or sharing a post on social media. That would be an excellent example of a microinteraction because the user is making one action that then accomplishes one thing.

The user is an essential component of the description of microinteractions because it’s their action that’s then driving the response. Web designers are putting an increasing amount of focus on these seemingly small details because they improve the user experience, which in turn leads to more conversions and loyalty, which are important when you’re creating a site to make money.

Below are some tips and things to keep in mind as you integrate microinteractions into your next design project.

Make it Fast

Users expect that when they perform a certain action, it instantaneously leads to the desired result, and that’s something that is essential in the successful use of microinteractions. The trigger of the user should result in the activation of the desired result in about 0.1 seconds. Otherwise, the trigger will stop being associated with the action taken and that’s going to frustrate users, which is a huge problem in web design.

Don’t Add Clutter

The integration of smart, well-designed microinteractions shouldn’t mean your site design is cluttered. In fact, it should be the very opposite. Try to include microinteractions that utilize elements that are already on the page and are intuitive to use for site visitors.

For example, using the cursor can, in turn, show the user feedback from their microinteraction.

Let It Be Instructional

Another potential good idea for using these small interactions and feedback loops in web design is to put them in place as a way to show users what they should do. For example, there could be a directional symbol that would show the user what to do to navigate a photo gallery.

That takes microinteractions from simply being something that triggers a single action, to something that demonstrates the right way to interact with the site.

Add Animations

Adding a simple animation to a microinteraction can be a way to draw attention to it without adding colors or contrasting design features that make a site feel cluttered. Animation can also be used to add a sense of fun to a microinteraction, and to bring attention to what the user needs to see.

An example of this would be having a “play” button move or rotate on the screen, indicating that’s where the user should click to have a video start.

Microinteractions aren’t new, but web designers are increasingly putting their focus on making them as effective as possible, and they’re one of the key trend areas to watch in web design in 2017.

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