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July 11, 2022

Web Design: Making the Most of Microinteractions

In today’s highly competitive digital marketplace, designing a standout website requires more than just an attractive colour scheme. It involves user engagement. And for that, web designers use microinteractions.

These small, almost imperceptible sets of triggers, actions, feedback, loops, and modes keep your site visitors engaged and entertained while performing key functions. When executed properly, micro-interactions create a seamless and intuitive user experience and enhance the functionality of your website.

Whether you want to expand your digital marketing strategy, improve your search engine optimization (SEO) or build your digital community, micro-interactions can get the job done.

What Are Microinteractions?

Web designer and author, Dan Saffer, described microinteractions as “contained product moments that revolve around a single use case.” In layman’s terms, microinteractions are any single user-generated action that creates a specific designer-intended outcome.

Microinteractions exist across products and platforms and we engage with them every day in more ways than you might expect. You can find examples of microinteractions on your electronic devices, appliances, within mobile apps, and on websites.

If you’ve ever placed your thumb on your phone’s screen and moved it up or down to scroll, you’ve engaged with a micro interaction. If you’ve ever “smashed that ‘Like’ button” on YouTube, shared something on social media, or even used a motion-controlled hand dryer then you’ve engaged with a micro interaction.

Generally speaking, microinteractions follow a process:

Trigger: Triggers initiate the micro interaction process. They can be either user-generated (for example user hovers over a button, the user clicks an image, user scrolls to a certain point on a page) or system-generated (for example alarm clock, automatic system update).

Rules/Action: The rules determine what occurs once a trigger has been… well, triggered. For example, a pop-up form might appear when a user clicks on a “Sign in/Register” button.

Feedback: Feedback defines what a user sees, hears, or feels during the micro interaction.

Loop/Mode: This is the final stage of the micro interaction that defines what occurs when conditions change. For example, what happens after a time setting that triggered an alarm has elapsed? What happens when a user scrolls past the section of the page that triggered the micro interaction, or do they have to perform another micro interaction before continuing to scroll?

Why Use Microinteractions?

Given that microinteractions are, indeed, so very tiny, it’s normal for businesses to ask whether or not they would actually make a difference to their customers’ online experience. But, as the old saying goes, big things come in small packages.

1.      Improve and Diversify Your Site’s Functionality

Microinteractions empower your website with greater functionality without taking up space. Many news publications, for example, have micro interactions that restrict portions of their content behind a paywall. Without the micro interaction, they wouldn’t be able to restrict the content nor would they be able to engage with their site visitors and encourage them to sign-up for a paid membership with a call-to-action.

2.      Reduce Bounce Rates and Improve Your SEO

A bounce rate refers to the ratio of site visitors who leave a landing page without performing an action. Microinteractions use movement, graphic design, and other visual aids to keep site visitors engaged and clicking through your site. Additionally, lower bounce rates improve your site’s SEO and increase the likelihood that your customers will be able to find you online. Depending on the nature of your business, SaaS platform Semrush says that a bounce rate of between 26% and 40% is ideal.

3.      Improve Your Site’s User Interface and Experience

Web design and development centres largely around two things: the user experience and the user interface. Most of what our profession entails revolves around predicting the needs and desires of people online and how to best fill them. Microinteractions create an intuitive user experience.

4.      Build Your Brand Online

People are inherently curious and social animals—the digital machines that we use are inherently the exact opposite. Microinteractions help to “humanize” websites and mobile apps by piquing our curiosity and creating a responsive experience more akin to our daily interactions with other non-digital entities. Websites are a reflection of your business and microinteractions make your business’ digital avatar feel less static and more “alive”, adaptive and responsive.

Businesses can use microinteractions to create signature branded moments that feel familiar to their customers. Great examples of this include Facebook’s “reactions”. From the instantly-recognizable “thumbs-up” to the animated emojis, these microinteractions have become synonymous with the Facebook platform.

5.      Microinteractions Are Just Good Fun

In addition to boosting your bottom line and adding value to your brand, microinteractions are just a way to have some fun and build a community around your website.

Get the Geek Power Advantage Today

At Geek Power, we take a holistic approach to website design and web development. We create microinteractions and incorporate them into all of our clients’ designs to craft unique, engaging, and powerful experiences for their customers. Check out our portfolio of custom websites and try to spot the microinteractions for yourself.

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