14 Microinteraction Examples That Enhance the User Experience
Every user experience is composed of many microinteraction examples, big and small. When done right, microinteractions make a digital product more engaging, intuitive, and delightful—no matter how complex the parent task may be.
But understanding how to design microinteractions that provide this level of engagement can be tricky.
In this blog post, we’ll look at some real-world examples of microinteraction use cases and learn how you can implement them into your own designs for better user experiences.
- Microinteractions are small interactive moments in UI that provide visual feedback and guide users.
- They enhance UX by making the product more intuitive, engaging, efficient, and enjoyable.
- Microinteractions consist of 4 parts: trigger, rule, feedback, and loops/modes.
- Some great examples of microinteractions are preloaders, chatbots, gamified animations, and celebratory gifs.
- Get a Userpilot Demo and see how you can reduce friction and create a positive customer experience.
What are microinteractions?
Microinteractions are subtle animations that support the user by giving visual feedback.
Although small, these single-purpose animations can turn boring actions into memorable moments. They’re designed to enhance the overall user experience by making the product more intuitive, engaging, and efficient.
How do microinteractions help improve the UX?
Moments and details, both large and small, contribute to our overall experience with a product. Microinteractions can transform a good product into a great one.
Here are some ways microinteractions can benefit your design:
- Enhance product usability
- Humanize the user experience and make it more relatable and fun
- Provide real-time feedback to users on their actions
- Smoother UI interactions that increase user satisfaction
- Speed up the product adoption
- Decrease the complexity of tasks that causes friction in the customer journey
- Prevent user errors and frustration that result in a high churn rate
How do microinteractions work?
In his book “Microinteractions: Designing with Details,” Dan Saffer breaks down microinteractions into four parts: trigger, rule, feedback, and loops and modes.
Let’s take a look at each one in detail.
The trigger is the first part of the microinteraction. They can be triggered by the user or system. A user-initiated trigger can include clicking, swiping, pressing a button, or scrolling.
A system-initiated trigger can happen when certain qualifications are met, and the system decides to show a notification, pop-up, or animation.
The rule determines the next action after a user or system triggers a microinteraction. What happens next after a user clicks an icon? Will this open an animation? Will this log the user out of their account?
Rules must be logical to the user. When a user clicks on the flashlight app icon, they expect a flashlight to come on. This rule also applies to system-triggered microinteractions.
When all preset conditions are met, the user gets the expected system-initiated results. If the user sets a 6 a.m. alarm, it will inform the user once it’s 6 a.m. This is an example of a condition-rule pair.
Feedback keeps users updated about what’s happening during microinteractions. One of the best examples of user feedback is the payment process with inline validation.
Using inline validation helps the users know instantly when they’ve done something wrong. For example, when they filled in the wrong card number.
This appears as a red border color to flag errors and a green border color to notify the user of success.
Loops and Modes
Loops and modes define the meta-rules of microinteractions and how they change after repeated uses. Examples can be seen in a toggle switch for a time-tracking app.
Users can toggle the switch between the “on” and “off” modes to see when a session starts.
14 successful microinteraction examples to inspire you
Let’s take a look at some of the best microinteraction examples to inspire you. Each of the real-world examples can help you bring your design to life and play an important role in making your user interactions more intuitive, enjoyable, and efficient.
Progress bars in checklists – Userpilot
In user-centered design, tension, and friction should be minimized wherever possible to ensure a positive user experience.
Users don’t want to wait, wonder where they are in the process, or worry about what’s loading in the background.
Progress bars are a great way to provide feedback to the user across all these areas.
That’s what Userpilot does – it integrates progress bars into its onboarding checklists.
With the progress bar, users are fully aware of the steps they need to take to move through each level and have a visual representation of where they are in the onboarding process.
Password error feedback – Simplenote
We chose this password error microinteraction from Simplenote because it showcases a subtle and non-obtrusive way of alerting the user when something’s wrong.
When creating an account, there is nothing worse than clicking the final submit button and receiving an error message that your password doesn’t meet the requirements. Simplenote understands this well, and so they use microinteractions to communicate with users what they’ve missed in the sign-up form.
It also saves them valuable time that would have been spent filling out the form again.
In the absence of such microinteractions, users get annoyed with the product and, if the task isn’t critical, are likely to disengage completely.
An interactive guide on a welcome modal – Tolstoy
Tolstoy, a video creation app, uses a welcome modal to keep users interested and relaxed after they sign up for the app.
After users sign up on Tolstoy, they’re instantly greeted by a friendly face who welcomes them into the app and asks them to choose what they want to do next.
Sure, lots of companies send welcome messages on modals, but human faces are the game-changer here: they humanize the interaction and delight the user.
Hotspots that help users navigate the UI – Grammarly
Using too many animations can also have a counterproductive effect and overwhelm users. That’s why you need to make sure those animations aren’t too distracting and reduce the screen complexity, not add it.
Grammarly uses small flashing icons known as “hotspots” in its onboarding process to make it more engaging. Those hotspots spark the user’s curiosity and draw their attention to a specific spot on the screen. By the way – you can easily build those hotspots without coding with Userpilot. Learn how to do it here.
When the user clicks on the dots, more helpful information is displayed that guides them to the next logical step of their journey.
Main dashboard preloader – Userpilot
Userpilot’s preloader isn’t just an icon on their website that rolls continuously while the user waits for the application to load. Instead, they use small graphics to illustrate the cool features of their products, while there are short messages informing the user of what’s happening in the background.
With a preloader, you can solve several user problems. You can educate users on ways to use your app better, and give users a reason to stick around as they focus more on the loading process than how long it takes to load up.
Dynamic loading page – Figma
This example of a loading page from Figma shows how you can create microinteractions that are both colorful and fun. Figma’s dynamic loading page has a progress bar that incorporates several colors as users witness the loading process.
Since the user has a good idea of what exactly is going on, they are more inclined to wait until the process is over. This loading page is also combined with progressive loading and a “skeleton screen,” which is a gradual reveal of the website’s structure.
Gamified animations – Asana
Gamification is the process of adding elements that make the whole process of onboarding competitive and fun for users. This could involve the use of incentives, like attaching rewards to tasks to encourage users to complete them successfully.
This is similar to how video games keep players coming back more consistently. They use the principle of rewards such as tool upgrades and badges to keep players hooked. The gamified animations in Asana are just as sticky.
When the user completes a task in Asana, magical unicorn soars across the screen, giving the user a dose of dopamine and creating a stronger emotional connection with the brand.
Lock screen – RememBear
One of the few examples of microinteractions that truly stand out is the lock screen on RememBear. RememBear is an app for storing passwords and automatically filling them when needed.
They aren’t the first to do this, but the major factor that sets them apart from competitors is their amazing branding built around the image of a cute bear mascot. The sign-in process is fun, as the bear mascot turns red when your password is wrong and green once it’s right.
Overall, you can tell that this is a much more impactful experience than a boring user interface.
Celebratory GIFs – Mailchimp
The Mailchimp microinteractions rely on the fact that everyone loves to feel encouraged after a big move. They care about how the user feels, which is obvious from the microinteraction that celebrates a user’s accomplishment.
We can all agree that writing and completing a newsletter, enough to send it out to subscribers is a lot of work that deserves kudos. Mailchimp confirms every newsletter you schedule with the message “Rock on!”
System feedback – Google Assistant floating dots
The Google Assistant floating dots offer amazing visual feedback as they draw attention to the fact that the app is receiving and listening to voice commands. Their microinteractions are in two phases, connected to the four colors that represent the Google brand.
As soon as the user says “Hey Google,” these colors form little bouncing dots that show that the assistant is listening at that moment. These colors change into the animation for sound waves as soon as the user starts to speak.
This addresses the pain points of users who would love to know when the app is responding rather than winging it, thereby providing a unique brand experience.
Tap and hold effect – Facebook react feature
When a user clicks on the thumbs-up button on Facebook, it does the traditional due of liking something. This is the standard icon for liking posts and comments. However, Facebook reactions truly come to life with the tap-and-hold effect.
When users tap and hold, the app pops up a full list of interactions. Each of the emojis is animated with real-time movements, an example of a great microinteraction. Users are rewarded with fun and animated emojis when they tap and hold the like icon.
The other person writing – Hubspot chatbot
Many apps may seem boring and non-interactive, but not Hubspot. An example of microinteractions in action is the Hubspot chatbot which is a deviation from the tradition of having humans behind messaging apps.
However, Hubspot created a delightful messaging bot that feels a lot like a real-life conversation with a friend on the other end of your device. As soon as the user sends a query, three bouncing dots indicate that the bot is writing back with an adequate response to the user’s problem.
There’s also a delay of a second or two before the bot sends a reply, which personalizes the experience and makes it feel a lot like a human rather than a bot.
Mouse over effect – Hootsuite magnetic cards
One of the best examples of the mouse-over effect in action is Hootsuite’s magnetic cards. They make the small moments count with a neat mouse-over effect that becomes active when users hover over each card on their homepage.
The Hootsuite website UI itself is fun, but that non-jarring effect when the cards jump up slightly like the cursor is a magnet informs users that the cards are clickable.
It also improves the user experience by letting them know that they are about to click on the right place for whatever information they need.
Error 404 pages – Dribble
The Dribble error 404 page isn’t just one with a boring design to tell users they’ve got something wrong. It combines some of the best designs on the platform and adds a splash of color to make it incredibly fun.
The user trigger initiates several colors, with tiny image cut-outs that make the page feel artistic. This is also an amazing way of conveying brand personality – considering that Dribble is designed for artists, designers, and other creatives. It’s an amazing way to encourage user interaction.
How to design microinteractions?
Designing microinteractions is not complicated. Here are two ultimate tips to help you reduce usability flaws and make your designs completely user-friendly.
Before designing microinteractions, you must fully understand the goals and objectives that each microinteraction must add to the overall user experience.
The best microinteractions are those that add value to the product rather than just improve aesthetics.
When designing, keep microinteractions simple and focused on a single task. Avoid overcomplicating them with unnecessary details.
Ensure they seamlessly flow with the product
Create microinteraction blend seamlessly with other aspects of the design. Keep the microinteractions natural and intuitive, and avoid strange animations.
By paying attention to the smaller interaction design details, designers can create a seamless user experience that thrills users and leaves a lasting impression on them.
Still, creating these micromoments can be tricky. You need the right tool to design and carry out a user testing phase for each microinteraction.
Want to get started designing microinteractions? Get a Userpilot Demo and see how you can reduce usability flaws and enhance user interactions with your product.