Microinteractions are an important concept in web design used to measure and evaluate the smallest level of interaction between the user and the product. More specifically, the term “microinteraction” describes a single moment or interaction in a single use-case or task that a person encounters when using a product. A web designer is primarily concerned with implementing a strong user experience for a wide-range of different possible interactions of an open-ended nature. For example, a web designer strives to build a site navigation design that is easy to use, aesthetically appealing and directs visitors to all the essential content hubs. Microinteractions help web designers interpret and build around tangible common website use.
1) Microinteractions Reflect User Experience and Engagement
Web designers define microinteractions by looking at cues, routines, and rewards in a loop to examine how an individual performs a task with a product1. You can break down a “login microinteraction” using this system: a user sees a login screen (cue), enters their credentials (routine), and gets logged-in to the service (reward). Web designers can analyze the login process to see if it offers an engaging, positive user experience2. The microinteraction helps designers establish:
- if the process makes sense
- if the user can easily follow the process
- if the user is engaged in the process
- if the process could be done in an easier way
Web designers can use this information to make changes to the platform to improve the overall experience.
2) Web Design Testing
Microinteractions are also important in the Quality Assurance process for web design. Unfortunately for a web designer, they are a poor representation of the product user experience because they are so familiar with the design. So microinteractions come in when developing a set of criteria the Quality Assurance team will examine when testing a new design. Essentially, the microtransactions are a list of tasks like “search for articles about pizza,” “log in to the platform,” and “open the main news story.” Developers use feedback to make adjustments.
3) Debugging and Error Checking:
Microinteractions also play an important role in many debugging, error checking, and performance testing applications. Microinteractions are important when programming automated tests for a website that track performance. They also play an important role in the debugging process because they help the team break down the user experience into actions that are both based on real-world use and can pin-point programming errors.
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