How Can Microinteractions Be Used To Enhance A Website?

Animation and microinteractions are now widely used as a key element of the website user experience. They are designed to engage the attention and add interest and personality to the website. Here is a look at the different ways in which they can be used.


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What are microinteractions?

Microinteractions are those small movements in a web user interface that are there to communicate feedback or provide guidance. It could be as simple as a tick appearing when an interaction has been successfully completed, or a progress bar to show a visual representation of how far the user is in their interaction.

They can also be used to emphasise calls to action, or draw the attention to useful hints and tips. Other microinteractions simply exist to make the user experience more fun and memorable and enhance brand identity, such as an animated mascot that communicates with gestures and facial expressions. 

Social media and chatbots also make use of microinteractions, such as the series of moving dots that indicates the user is typing a response. This helps the user to see that their query is being responded to and has not just disappeared into the ether. 


Embedded animations

Animations are also used in the more traditional sense on a website, as animated videos that can be used to explain and inform users about your products or services, or simply to provide some background information about your company. 

They are particularly useful for explaining abstract concepts that would otherwise be difficult to understand with a written or verbal explanation. Simple animated infographics can be entertaining as well as help the viewer to understand and retain information.


Transition animations

Micro animations can be used to guide the user through their journey by indicating when they are transitioning between different pages or sections of the website. These animations prompt the user to take the next step and make it clear where they are at all times, avoiding the need to step backwards or arrive at a dead end.


A little can go a long way

While a little life and movement can be used to give a charming touch of personality to our screen interactions, be careful not to go too far. Animations that are too obtrusive can be irritating and distract the user from their goals. Consider each animation carefully and assess whether it enhances or hinders the user experience.

Remember that larger programs can slow down the page loading speed and delay processing of information. Use animations sparingly and put yourself in the page visitors’ shoes: annoying web pages will spike your bounce rate and lose customers. 

Think of them as the spice in a recipe: it adds a pleasing dash of interest and piques the appetite, but too much soon ruins the flavour!


Ask for user feedback

Don’t just rely on your own judgement, but ask for feedback from people within your target audience range. Animations may play out in a slightly different way across browsers and devices, and it’s also a subjective experience, so aim to gather a good cross section of opinion.  


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