7 Compelling Reasons to Use Micro-Interactions On Your Site
Updated on July 9th, 2016
You’re always striving to make your content more appealing than your competitors. For that reason, you’ve followed tips like these about how to be better. And no doubt that has helped.
But have you fully utilised micro-interactions?
Micro-interactions are those little moments when by using a piece of software a single interaction – like a click or a swipe – accomplishes another single action. On or off switches, those star ratings on Amazon, likes, and volume controllers are all examples.
And they are the difference between a smooth, intuitive and above all else effective website that does what it’s meant to, and a clunky nightmare that gets abandoned before it’s even fully loaded.
Here’s why you need to think about using micro-interactions on your website;
1. They are efficient
Nowadays nothing is as important to users as their time. For example, if a page hasn’t loaded within 3 seconds, almost half of users will abandon it. Similarly, if they find it difficult to navigate, they will look elsewhere for what they need. In other words, if your page is clunky and not outfitted for ease-of-use, it doesn’t matter how informative it is as people will not stick around to find out.
Well-designed micro-interactions can help by turning a series of actions into a single one and thereby streamlining your page and enhancing the user experience. In fact, the best-designed micro-interactions are so intuitive that users don’t even realise that they’ve used them!
Take the swipe, for example. For so many people it has become so natural, that if you ask them how many times they’ve done the gesture in the last minute, they won’t be able to tell you. Now that’s a good micro-interaction!
2. They reduce clutter
Micro-interactions serve to reduce clutter, allowing users to access different parts of your website only when they need to. This makes your website far calmer and minimalistic than it would otherwise be, but without actually sacrificing any information as it’s all still there behind your micro-interactions.
And when sites are easy on the eye, people stick around to use them.
3. They are informative
In fact, a micro-interaction can serve to impart information all by itself. Take the play button on a video, for example. It doesn’t just play the video that the user is watching, but it also informs them that they’ve pressed it by transforming into a pause button. In this way, even if the video takes a moment to load, the user is aware that their command has been received.
It could look like this:
Image Source: Gabriel Tomescu
This is far more appealing than a text saying “the video is now playing” would be. Something aptly demonstrated by the fact that the vast majority of people have never even given that button a second thought.
That has to be the litmus test of a well-designed micro-interaction.
4. They satisfy expectations of cause and effect
In the real world, there is always cause and effect. Let go of an object and it will fall. Push a door and it will open. Turn a key and the engine starts.
Outside of the internet, this is how everything works. And we’ve therefore evolved to expect an action-reaction relationship in everything we do. The thing is the internet often violates that expectation when our actions don’t lead to any sort of visible change. When we do not witness that our actions have an effect, we at best find ourselves distant from whatever we’re interacting with, while at worst we become frustrated.
This is well demonstrated with somebody banging a button over and over again because their computer is not responding.
A micro-interaction can prevent this by showing a user that their action has had an effect. In this way, even if there is a momentary load time while whatever the user has requested is called up, the user will be far more likely to be patient.
5. They make your site more intuitive
Text has its use, especially if it’s well written. That said, as we’re visual creatures, it takes us far more time to process text than a visual image. To put it more colloquially, a picture is worth a thousand words. For this reason, a good micro-interaction can work wonders.
For example, take the Tinder swiping action. It only takes people a few seconds to understand right means ‘yes’ and left means ‘no’. It just makes logical sense to them. And once they’ve got it, they can’t stop doing it – something that has greatly contributed to Tinder’s addictive nature and lasting appeal.
Now obviously few micro-interactions are going to be as good as Tinder’s swipe, but even if they’re not, they still serve to make your page far more intuitive and ‘natural’.
6. They will make your site seem more trustworthy
This is vitally important because ‘natural’ is equated with ‘trustworthy’ in our animal brains. This is down to the halo effect, which is a judgment heuristic whereby if something is good in one dimension, we automatically assume that translates across to other dimensions. This is why certain fonts, which are easier to read, and can make people trust you. And this is why using easy to understand micro-interactions can do the same. The so called halo effect is described on the picture below.
Image Source: Primary Intelligence
7. They lead to more conversions
And that trust means that micro-interactions can actually lead to more visitors being turned into customers. Now, obviously, this does not mean that you can abandon your other strategies to funnel your visitors. You still need an appropriate call to action.
But if your micro-interactions are well designed more people will get there and they will have a much better opinion of your website. Add to that that they will have interacted with your website a number of times, thereby making the barrier to interacting with your call-to-action lower, and you can start to see the power of these little tools.
And for that reason, it is essential if you want to beat your competition, that you give micro-interactions a second look, because though your users might not even notice how well designed they are, your bottom line sure will.
Benedict Brychta is an MBA student and a passionate blogger from San Jose, CA. He loves to share his opinion on different things happening in the spheres of motivation, digital marketing and entrepreneurship. You can contact Ben via Twitter.
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- 7 Compelling Reasons to Use Micro-Interactions On Your Site – Jun 21, 2016
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