Microinteractions

Alright so in my last post I said I’d cover User Experience in a little more detail. Well, today I’d like to talk about something called microinteractions. Please, don’t get this mixed up with microtransactions; they are two completely different things. Microinteractions are a tiny part of the user experience. They’re smaller tweaks to your product that can make all the difference and they take part in pretty much everything these days. A good example would be autocorrect in smart phones.

When you’re on your phone, and you’re typing “Hey, hows it going?” and you make that mistake of leaving out the apostrophe in “Hows” which should be “How’s” or “How is”, but it’s ok because autocorrect (this little hidden feature) just jumps into play as you type and inserts the apostrophe for you, so it just looks like you wrote “Hey, how’s it going?” straight from the start. You’d probably have no idea that you even made a mistake.

Now of course sometimes autocorrect gets it wrong and changes a word to something just completely out of the ordinary, but the point is that this is a feature that’s incognito, it’s hidden from the users, it just happens and it’s meant to make their experience better. It’s a micro interaction and for the most part it’s helpful AND optional.

Another good example would be the “ctrl+alt+del” shortcut on Windows computers. So instead of having to look through the interface on your computer and find something like task manager; you can just hit those keys together and a menu pops up with different options (task manager being one of them). It’s quick, simple, easy to remember and it just sits in the back of your head “How do I get to to task manager from here? Oh yeah just hit ctrl+alt+del”.

The idea or concept with microinteractions is to make these small changes that have a big impact, that make tasks easier or more efficient for your users. They’re meant to be something that a user discovers and thinks “Oh, hey that’s pretty cool. I’m gonna use that more often.” because they enjoyed that experience with it. Like search suggestions in Google; that’s another great example of a microinteraction. So, you’re typing and looking for something specific but then you get a text and it throws you off; of course when you look back you can’t remember what it was you were searching for but google has some suggestions and one of them reminds you of what you were searching for and, voila.

There’s a great site that lists more of these microinteractions and it has a pretty simple name to remember, here’s the link: http://microinteractions.com/ just in case you want to check it out and get some more ideas.

Remember that these are just a little fraction of the experience your users have with your product. They’re not massive or in your face. They’re small, concise, and useful little interactions that make all the difference. Think about them, think about how you can improve parts of your product through using these microinteractions. And don’t forget that these aren’t just something limited to the digital space. They can be anywhere, as part of anything such as a trigger that sends you a text when something slides through your letterbox at home.

Well I hope you found this post as interesting and insightful as my last post and that you look forward to more posts from me on other topics in the future.

Regards,

Finley

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