Small Things Have Big Consequences

Jared Spool

January 16th, 2018

Microinteractions are tiny, task-based interactions that you barely notice when they perform well—and we’ve grown accustomed to expecting them to perform well. They are kind of like a bit of grease the keeps the flow of movement through an experience fluid and carefree. Muting your phone, updating a preference, uploading a file, connecting devices, receiving a confirmation message, liking or sharing a piece of content. These are all microinteractions. They extend to explanatory copy, such as call-to-actions, labels, form fields, menu items, the prompt within an empty state. They can include sound and visuals to convey information.

Dan Saffer coined the term “microinteractions.” These interactions are often an afterthought in the design and strategy, cobbled together with on-the-spot copy and mockups. But Dan says they are intricately tied to the way we experience a product and brand, and can influence our opinion about products. He’s outlined a four-step process to approaching how you design and develop microinteractions:

The Trigger – What starts the interaction: be it a person or a system trigger.
The Rules – The rules that define what happens when the microinteraction is triggered.
Feedback – How the rules of the interaction are communicated to users.
Loops and Modes – The nature of the interaction: does it repeat, what happens over time?

Join Dan Saffer at the 2018 UXI Conference in his Designing the Critical Details using Microinteractions workshop and explore in detail the four steps for designing microinteractions, using feedback, setting realistic rules, and experimenting with loops and modes.

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