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Recordings and Materials from the 2013 User Interface 18 Conference

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Designing Microinteractions

Dan Saffer

only 14 seats left!

Design often-overlooked UX elements — microcopy, form controls, and system defaults — increase user engagement overall. See how delightful these details can be.

Plus, microinteractions help users remember your brand. So get the methodology, language, and techniques you’ll need to make yours memorable for all the right reasons.


Trigger events to start a microinteraction

  • How to identify microinteractions
  • The physical, system, and manual events that users do on their own
  • When to use different types of triggers and how data influence that choice

Set realistic rules

  • The Do’s and Don’ts of crafting rules to govern microinteractions
  • Constraints that prevent or eliminate human error
  • Ways to make a standard form more interesting and delightful


Design a balanced experience

  • The four kinds of feedback: static, animation, haptics, and sound
  • How you can convey feedback by using things already on the screen
  • Where to add humor, edge, or instructional copy to your messaging
  • How to design a microinteraction using all four kinds of feedback

Experiment with loops and modes

  • What happens when a user returns to your microinteraction
  • The difference between modes that are spring-loaded or one-off

You’ll dig into designing delightful details

Discover why your users are bored

If you’re designing dull microinteractions, why wouldn’t your users feel bored? See real-world examples of brand-building experiences, then decide how you want to design for your users.

Follow a repeatable methodology

It’s hard to ask for time to polish the details, but your product is only as good as its worst microinteraction. Learn to make them more engaging without derailing deadlines.

Design cross-platform interactions

A truly delightful microinteraction is one that can follow a user from device to device. Create a holistic ecosystem that represents your organization in unique, compelling ways.

You'll learn how to:

  • Bring your data forward from inside the microinteraction
  • Create rules to prevent errors from occurring
  • Write microcopy that humans can read and understand
  • Identify elements to spend time on -- and which to ignore
  • Integrate microinteraction design in your existing process
  • Apply this detail-oriented methodology to feature design

4 Practical Takeaways from Dan’s Workshop

Signature moments that make your organization look awesome

Get a new model to address small details in your products and easily diagnose usability issues.

Feedback that works for your users over time

Use static visuals, animation, tactile, or sound feedback to engage with users.

Microinteractions that perform across devices and at full capacity

Know when and where to use different triggers and how to prevent errors from occurring.

A fresh perspective on your existing design

Enhance microinteractions that are already there, and bring your data forward in powerful ways.

This workshop includes hands-on exercises.

You’ll work individually and in groups to experiment with a variety of controls, triggers, and feedback types — including animation. You’ll then put it all together by designing a device-specific microinteraction that uses all of the elements discussed in the workshop.

Dan Saffer, MicroDesigner

@odannyboy on Twitter

Did you know O Danny Boy isn’t just a song that quite easily gets stuck in your head?

True, it’s also the online home of Dan Saffer, the interaction designer whose three books (and a fourth on Microinteractions) have become bookshelf mainstays for any of us working in the UX industry. His expertise in designing for different types of interfaces is unparalleled, and we’re thrilled he’ll be here to knock your socks off in October.

Dan is the director of interaction design at SMART Design in San Francisco, where he creates compelling and memorable interfaces for clients from Samsung to startups. His focus on the details of design will sharpen your eye, so get ready to see your own work in powerful new ways that will truly delight your users.