According to Statista, at the start of 2018, the total value of B2B e-commerce sales online in the United Kingdom amounted to a whopping £ 133.6 billion. And by 2021, it is expected that 93% of internet users in Britain will be shopping online. With these figures in mind, many people are starting to pay attention to their online marketing efforts and this might be the very reason why you are taking a look into various marketing avenues for your business online.
In order to stand out from the crowd – and let’s be honest; competition is rife with online marketing nowadays – you need to ensure that your website is primed for great search engine results and that the user experience (UX) on your website is nothing short of phenomenal.
Let’s Talk About Marketing Terms: Micro Intentions & User Experience
If you find yourself in the thick of handling a digital marketing project (it could be your own), you will probably come across the mention of “micro interactions”. Once you have heard of micro interactions, it is hard not to keep seeing the term pop up in online digital marketing advice. Something you will read again and again is that micro interactions have an impact on the user experience (UX). And if that is true, it stands to reason that you can use these micro interactions to actually enhance the user experience.
Let’s be honest; enhancing the user experience is just as much a coveted marketing outcome as a first page, first position on a Google search ranking. In fact, Google favours websites in search results that provide a great user experience over those that don’t. Therefore, you could have great content, but if your website is difficult to use or not geared to customer satisfaction and convenience, your rankings could suffer. How do you use micro interactions to your advantage (and that of your customers too)? This is the very question we hope to answer for you with this post.
What on the World Wide Web is a Micro Interaction?
Before you can learn how to use micro interactions to improve the user experience on your website, you need to actually understand what a micro interaction is and what its purpose is too. Let’s jump right in.
What exactly is a micro interaction? Micro interactions are the little things that you do online when trying to complete an action. They are the elements that make certain actions possible and then provide guidance and feedback in short form.
Generally speaking, a micro interaction has one simple task in mind and it sets out to achieve it. Think of all the times you log into a social media account, like a post online, click “next” on a slide show, change a password, input a calendar reminder, sign up for a newsletter and so on, you are actually engaging with a micro interaction.
What Micro Interactions Do
You might be wondering what a browser can really do when they engage with a micro interaction. When you engage with a micro interaction you can complete a task, connect to a device, send and receive information, control devices, adjust settings, view or modify content, turn services on and off, add products to virtual shopping carts and so on. During the entire process, the micro interaction feature is designed to keep the user informed of the progress or outcome. Feedback from the micro interaction will show you that the image you liked is actually liked or that the newsletter signup is actually complete, for instance.
Have you ever visited a website and tried to interact with certain features – perhaps clicking the “register” button and nothing happens? That is a micro interaction ensuring a poor user experience.
How Micro Interactions Can Enhance the UX in 5 Simple Ways
If you want to know how to use micro interactions to improve the user experience on your website, here are 5 simple ways to do that:
1. They help users accomplish their goal
If a consumer feels lost on your website, they are going to end up clicking through to a competitor’s site. By incorporating micro interactions, you can guide your browsers to the next steps in the process. This means that when a goal needs to be accomplished, users can find their way around simply and that the entire task is handled quickly and with ease.
2. They can keep the user informed at every stage of the process
Online consumers want to know exactly what is happening at all stages of their interaction on your website. In many instances, it is simple to inform the user immediately, especially if the action is simple, but what about when your website/system needs a bit more time to complete the action? Do not keep your user waiting and wondering if it is still working – make sure that your website keeps them informed of the possible wait. Your website should display a progress bar or an image asking them to wait. If you truly want to keep your customer engaged, provide them with interesting quotes or jokes to read while waiting. Keep your user in a good mood, even if they are waiting. Effective micro interactions distract the browser from the frustration of having to wait around and give your website a bit of emotion and personality.
3. They can keep navigation simple
Effective micro interactions help browsers navigate their way through processes on your website. Think about a consumer accessing your website via their mobile phone. When they engage with micro interactions, the entire process needs be absolutely simple and the navigation between pages and functions needs to be somewhat obvious and easy (just in case they need to find their way back to a previous page/function for some reason).
4. They eliminate potential confusion with non-standard layouts
When you are using non-standard or non-static layouts on your website, you need to ensure that there is no room for potential confusion. Micro interactions simplify certain functions on non-standard layouts such as scrolling graphs, flipping photo albums, carousal galleries and so on. By incorporating micro interactions, users will know precisely how to use the layout or feature presented.
5. They provide the user with acknowledgement
Humans might not know it, but we crave acknowledgement. In fact, Psychology Today featured an interesting article that provides insight into how the most basic forms of acknowledgement can boost an individual’s level of engagement and perseverance.
As it turns out, we want to feel important and that is something that UX micro interactions can achieve quite effectively. By incorporating micro interactions on your website, you can cater to the human need for acknowledgement by keeping customers instantly informed about their actions and providing them with a visual reward. You can also use micro interactions to show your appreciation, which is another way of catering to the human need for acknowledgement.
As you can see, something as seemingly small as the micro interactions on your website can make a huge difference to the actual UX (user experience). If you want to ensure that your website has an edge that leaves the user smiling and engaged, take a closer look at your micro interactions and determine where they could do with a bit more work.