What sets an app apart from others of its kind are microinteractions and how well they flow throughout the user experience (UX). To understand the power of microinteractions, you must understand how a user moves through the phases. Break each step down and improve it through the viewpoint of the consumer.
1. Understand Common Microinteractions
Nielsen Norman Group’s UX Metrics and ROI 5th Edition report looked at 44 case studies and found that every $1 invested in usability resulted in a return on investment between $10 and $100. It all starts with the most commonly used microinteractions people recognize and know how to interact with. For example, a “Submit” button has a clear outcome.
Look at the language of the CTA to see if the user knows what happens when they click on it. Also, consider whether the result matches user intent when they take action. If someone hits a button that reads “Add to Cart,” they expect to go to a shopping cart page. Consider how well the action relates to the intention.
2. Embrace Feedback
One of the quickest ways to improve UX is to give customers feedback for each action they take. If they click on a button, you should confirm their selection occurred correctly.
Put yourself in the shoes of the average app user. They fill in information for a new diet app so they can gain access to a customized menu. When they hit the submit button, they should get confirmation that their input arrived and the plan will be emailed to them or distributed another way. Providing feedback along the way keeps loose ends tied up and shows the user they are progressing forward on the site.
3. Know Your Audience
The better you understand your users, the more intuitive your microinteractions will be. For example, you may have a lot of customers in the senior age bracket. In the United States, approximately 10,000 people a day turn 65 years old, so the chances of older adults using your app are high.
Keep in mind how to create an age-friendly design. Do some of them have arthritis? If the buttons are too small, they may have difficulty touching them on a smartphone screen. You can improve your UX throughout the process, from the contrast between the background color and the text to the font sizes you use.
4. Capture User Attention
Microinteractions can grab your users’ attention and keep them moving through your app smoothly. By breaking things into individual steps, the user must take more actions than if they had one big form to fill out.
The more engaged the person is, the more likely they will stick around. The last thing you want is for them to bounce from your app to competitors’ programs. So, have them fill in their first name and click a button before moving to a new screen and adding more information. Breaking up loads of text with small changes keeps the design highly intuitive and interactive.
5. Study the Competition
The app store features around two million different apps. While they are not all your competition, you are still fighting to be seen and gain traction against millions of other options. Take the time to look at your direct competition and top-ranking apps across multiple categories.
How do they engage users and keep them coming back? Make sure you hit the same highlights with your interactions. Remove anything that seems to create a bottleneck in the process. If you notice users start to register but stop halfway through, what is creating a stumbling block? Keep tweaking your design until your conversion rate is high enough to meet industry standards.
6. Survey Users
Adding tons of new microinteractions only works if you increase customer satisfaction during the process. Spend time sending out surveys and reading them. What elements of your design do users most enjoy? What do they think you could improve?
You can tell a lot from your internal analytics. If users bounce away from your app at specific points, pay attention to those pages, and how you might engage people better or clarify matters. Data only tells part of the story, though — you need direct feedback from your audience to understand how best to improve your design.
Put yourself in the shoes of your customers. Why do they download the app in the first place? Most have a pain point they want to solve. Fix any areas where the app fails to meet user expectations and fix the issue.
7. Create a Loop
One of the most exciting things about microinteractions is how you can create a loop that keeps people on your app rather than bouncing away. How do you shift them back to the main page or a new interaction when they finish one task?
Ideally, they will start with one action, complete it via a series of micro-events and eventually loop back to begin a second process. The system might look different depending on the business model, but the idea of a series of actions and loops to start again engages users.
Do Microinteractions Create an Effective Model?
Properly executed microinteractions should create a balance between intrusion and engagement. The feedback they receive each time an action finishes shows customers you see them, which they need. Hone in on improving your microinteractions and watch your results climb beyond your expectations.