Interaction Design Studio 2

Microinteractions - Chapter 1 & 2

Chapter responses to the book Microinteractions by Dan Saffer.


Individual reading assignment


eBook, Google Docs


Pick 3 quotes and write a response

Project overview

“Microinteractions are frequently the last parts of a product to be designed and developed, and as such they are often overlooked. But ignoring them is a mistake.”

I find when designing interfaces, these microinteractions always come secondary to the macro interactions because it is easy to focus on the look of the interface and not enough on the feel of the interface. Even in the testing phase of an interface researchers might focus on the macro feature interactions for users to test, instead of testing micro interactions. I wonder if researchers have a list of micro versus macro interactions that they should consider when developing tasks for users to test. I think microinteractions are overlooked in the testing phase because they are usually functioning in the background and not the main center of attention on an interface. However, the success of an interface depends on these single use cases of interactions. If the microinteractions were tested before launching the interface the design team would be able to evaluate the inconsistencies and make the necessary changes.

“Microinteractions are an exercise in restraint, in doing as much as possible with as little as possible. Embrace the constraints and focus your attention on doing one thing well. Mies van der Rohe’s mantra of “less is more” should be the microinteraction designer’s mantra as well.”

One word that I hear frequently in design is constraint, which is a limitation imposed on a design’s functionality, features, or look and feel. Since microinteractions focus on one use case, the need for simplicity is high because there is a larger risk that users may become irritated. “Less is more” is a great mantra to have as a designer because we do not want to overcomplicate tasks for users. Instead we should consider using microinteractions as much as possible throughout the design to simplify the interface or task at large. A well designed microinteraction can make a product stand out from competitors so focusing on simplifying the interaction as much as possible can create customer loyalty.

“The MetroCard Vending Machine introduces the first principle of triggers: make the trigger something the target users will recognize as a trigger in context. This might mean a physical (or seemingly physical, as with the fake Start button on the MetroCard Vending Machine) control like a button or a switch, or it could be an icon in the task or menu bar.”

I thought the MetroCard Vending Machine was a great example, I appreciate how the author starts each chapter with a story. It sets the reader up for the topic that will be covered in an engaging way. The entire idle screen on the vending machine was a trigger, however users will engage with it differently. The design team considered the different users ranging from generational cohorts that will be using these machines. Having a mechanical style button on the top right screen gave users contextual information in regards to the trigger. I wonder when they were testing this how many people actually pressed the fake start button and how many others pressed the pointing hand, or the large start text at the bottom left of the screen. In any event any of these selections is deemed correct to the user and the system since it is all one trigger.

Let’s create something meaningful

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