Microinteractions are part of successful design

Microinteractions show feedback, improve the sense of direct manipulation, visualize the results of actions, and help to accomplish individual tasks.

Person drawing wireframes

A well-designed product is considered to have two main good features: function and detail. Functions are the aspect of a product that attracts people; details are what holds them back, and that’s precisely why an application sets itself apart from its competitors.

Microinteractions are one of the best ways to provide user-friendly feedback from an app. Everything comes down to a human-centered design approach where the user takes the lead. Although microinteractions are often seen as secondary to design, they actually create a feeling of comfort for the user. The task of an UI designer is to create something that resolves the problem and does it “humanely”.

What are microinteractions?

Microinteractions are small interface changes that help us navigate a website or an application. Usually these are visual or sound effects that serve as a guide for the user: they show what happened, what an action will lead to or what needs to be done next.


Here are some examples of the most popular microinteractions we see every day. This is usually an animated UI element.

  • Typing… : This functionality is now part of most messaging apps and it keeps users engaged as they know that the reply is going to be immediate. In addition, it gives users a hint about when to type and when to wait until the other person finishes typing their message. 
Typing microinteraction ux design
  • Google autocomplete: Autocomplete is a feature within Google Search and it helps users to complete the search faster by generating  predictions. It also makes it possible to monitor what others are trying to find out about a particular topic.
Autocomplete google search microinteraction ux design
  • Downloading: Autocomplete is a feature within Google Search and it helps users to complete the search faster by generating  predictions. It also makes it possible to monitor what others are trying to find out about a particular topic.
Downloading bar microinteraction ux desiign

The good thing about microinteractions is that they can be used in many locations and with many potential actions. Although they are usually used in the following cases:

  • Show system status: The interface should tell the user what is going on or where the user is located. Don’t let the users get bored – tell them what’s going on and how long they must wait. For example, the loading progress bar engages the user and helps not to get confused).
  • Call attention to changes: Sometimes you have to not only display a notification, but also ensure that the user sees it. An animation will help capture the user’s attention and will not let you lose sight of important information.
  • Clear navigation between context: Use animation to smoothly transition the user from one navigation context to another and explain how the organization of items on the screen has changed. This is especially important on mobile devices and smartwatches – due to the fact that it’s impossible to fit a lot of information on a small screen. The key is to maintain clear navigation between pages so that users understand where it came from. The transitions between different visual states should be clear, smooth and easy. 
  • Input field: Data entry is one of the most important elements of any application and micro interactions make this process more convenient.
  • Call to action: Microinteractions can inspire users to interact and they can bring empathy to the user experience. However, it is important to consider the long-term perspective – won’t the users get bored with a microinteraction when they encounter it for the hundredth time? Or will it always be clean and discreet?

Conclusion: Microinteractions should save time by instantly transmitting information without distracting or tiring the user. It is neccesary to make microinteractions more humanely and focus on the visual harmony. After all, good design is always a full stack- from functional part to microinteractions.


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