Microinteractions
Designing with Details
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: May 2013
Pages: 170

It’s the little things that turn a good digital product into a great one. With this practical book, you’ll learn how to design effective microinteractions: the small details that exist inside and around features. How can users change a setting? How do they turn on mute, or know they have a new email message?

Through vivid, real-world examples from today’s devices and applications, author Dan Saffer walks you through a microinteraction’s essential parts, then shows you how to use them in a mobile app, a web widget, and an appliance. You’ll quickly discover how microinteractions can change a product from one that’s tolerated into one that’s treasured.

  • Explore a microinteraction’s structure: triggers, rules, feedback, modes, and loops
  • Learn the types of triggers that initiate a microinteraction
  • Create simple rules that define how your microinteraction can be used
  • Help users understand the rules with feedback, using graphics, sounds, and vibrations
  • Use modes to let users set preferences or modify a microinteraction
  • Extend a microinteraction’s life with loops, such as “Get data every 30 seconds”
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oreillyMicrointeractions
 
4.3

(based on 6 reviews)

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83%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Easy to understand (4)
  • Helpful examples (4)
  • Well-written (3)

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Intermediate (3)
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      • Developer (5)

    Reviewed by 6 customers

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    5.0

    Great foundation for more than web site

    By Mister Creativity

    from Sarasota, FL

    About Me Customer Experience Coach, Educator

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Accurate
    • Conversational Style
    • Easy to understand
    • Helpful examples
    • Transferrable Skills
    • Very Well Organized
    • Well-written

    Cons

      Best Uses

        Comments about oreilly Microinteractions:

        I am NOT a web designer! My interest is in the broader application of Customer Experience Management – designing those refinements and polish that cause a Customer to say, "Wow!" – or more.

        Just like in a website experience, all forms of Customer contact include numerous micro interactions (sometimes called Touchpoints or Moments of Truth).

        This refreshing book provides examples, concrete guidelines, and specific practices to apply to the Human Interface regardless of how it occurs. Can you imagine, for example a hospital who understood and implemented a meaningful application of these principles??? Wow! Or a retailer? Or a home remodeling / decorating contractor...

        I have already highly recommended this work to three colleagues and intend to keep doing so. VERY well done! //Richard

        (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

         
        3.0

        Could Be Useful, Not So Much To Me

        By Steve

        from Boulder, Colorado

        About Me Developer

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

        • Helpful examples

        Cons

        • Difficult to understand

        Best Uses

        • Expert
        • Ux Designer

        Comments about oreilly Microinteractions:

        After defining the topic as "single use-case features [of a user interface] that do one thing only" with a light switch as the iconic example, arguing for the importance of getting the features of user experience right, setting the goal of "dissect[ing] microinteractions in order to help readers design their own", and a mostly-irrelevant but well-told introductory story about a cell-phone ring-tone destroying a musical performance, the author quickly establishes an analysis framework, dividing interactions into Triggers, Rules, and Feedback, and devotes early chapters to explaining each of the components.

        The book, unfortunately, doesn't fulfill this promising (minus that story) start.

        Rather than an intensive and systematic dissection of single-use-case interactions, we're given example after example (after example) of Triggers, then of Rules, then of Feedback, almost all drawn from postings to a single Website ("Little Big Details"),accompanied by a narrative which, by rapidly changing point of view and underlying metaphor, makes the analytical context confusing and causes all of these examples (and there are a LOT of examples) to just pile together, conceptually.

        There are good ideas — use smart defaults, don't start from zero, recognize "signature moments" — but they are presented in mind-numbing breadth rather than depth, with many, many examples but little analysis of why these rules might apply exactly this way in this particular context. The barrage of examples, to me, grew tiresome. You might have figured that out already.

        Mr. Saffer tells us how to judge a successful feature — "what you're striving for is a feeling of naturalness, an inevitability, a flow…" — and it's a shame he didn't apply that simple measure to his book.

        I appreciate and generally trust the "Who Should Read This Book?" feature in O'Reilly books, but in this case it failed me — rather than the "anyone who cares about making better products" of the Preface, the right audience is professional, full-time user experience designers wanting to, and able to, hone their skills through exposure to examples. If that sort of person could have a much higher opinion of the book, and I wouldn't argue a bit.

        I obtained my copy through the O'Reilly Blogger Review program.

        (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Microinteractions = Great UX

        By Sara B

        from Madison WI

        About Me Designer, Developer, Educator, Maker

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

        • Concise
        • Easy to understand
        • Helpful examples
        • Well-written

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Expert
          • Intermediate
          • Novice
          • Student

          Comments about oreilly Microinteractions:

          At 150 pages, this is a fairly quick read, but the true importance of the work lives in the details, much as the title indicates. Microinteractions is about the "the single use-case features that do one thing only" and how we encounter them in our lives. From unlocking a smartphone, to turning on our computers, to building software apps and web interfaces, microinteractions are the things we don't think about that create the totality of our user experience. Paying close attention to these seemingly miniscule details can mean the difference between a good user experience and a GREAT user experience. Not only this, but creating a great user interface can mean repeat customers, a greater brand following, and increased business.

          One of the early examples of microinteractions that Dan Saffer shares is that of a signup box. I particularly relate to this interaction as being significant because of a personal pet peeve around signups, which is when there is not a "smart keyboard" matching the text field in the form.

          From here, Saffer goes on to discuss a variety of microinteractions and their impact on the ways we encounter technology, and by extension, life. The core of the book is the microinteraction module, a series of actions involved in creating, designing, and understanding the importance of microinteractions. He finishes the book by showing us how to put all the components of the module together and testing the microinteractions. Like I said, it's a pretty quick read.

          But being a quick read does not detract from the value and importance of the work. I've read through this book three times now, each time learning new things and ideas to implement in my user experience design. I find myself paying better attention to the moments that seem insignificant and how I feel after using a microinteraction. Does it work for me? Could I improve on it? How does my work relate to this interaction, and how can I aim for the best user experience?

          I feel lucky that I read this book so early in my UX design learning, because it has given a great appreciation for the work that UX designers do to create a human-computer interaction that is meaningful and adds value to my life. I can understand more clearly why designers and engineers make the choices they do, and make my own choices with more information and value to them. I can't wait to learn more about microinteractions and to have conversations about their meaning and how to design them as I continue learning user experience design and interaction.

          (0 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

           
          4.0

          More for designers than for programmers

          By Sean Wilkinson

          from Birmingham, AL

          About Me Developer, Graduate Student, Scientist

          Verified Reviewer

          Pros

          • Well-written

          Cons

          • Difficult to understand

          Best Uses

          • Student

          Comments about oreilly Microinteractions:

          The author defines a microinteraction as "a contained product moment that revolves around a single use case—a tiny piece of functionality that only does one thing". Notice that it says a "product moment", rather than a "product". This is what makes microinteractions a little abstract, haha. Thankfully, Saffer does a good job giving lots of examples and pictures throughout the book to help make things a little more concrete.

          I find this book really interesting and thought-provoking. It caters more to designers than to programmers, and thus it has a lot more pictures and a lot less code. As a programmer, I still found this book easy to read, but the ideas are deep.

          I disclose that I was provided a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

           
          5.0

          The power of small details

          By JuanjoFR

          from Barcelona, Spain

          About Me Developer, Maker

          Verified Reviewer

          Pros

          • Easy to understand
          • Helpful examples

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Intermediate
            • Novice

            Comments about oreilly Microinteractions:

            I'm going to talk about a book that will make you to pay special attention to details that went unnoticed for you on applications, web sites or gadgets you use every day.

            These details are called microinteractions and Dan Saffer defines them as "tiny piece of functionality
            that only does one thing".

            An example given in the book is the case of silencing a phone: only offers one functionality, but you can do it in multiple ways.

            Throughout the book you will learn the most important aspects comprising a microinteraction, which are divided between triggers, rules, feedback loops and modes.

            To easily understand the concepts, Dan uses functionalities that you've ever used in your life or real news in which microinteractions has had a starring role.

            Following the example of the functionality (or microinteraction) responsible for silencing a phone, this can have a physical button as trigger, some rules like the phone vibrates or not when muted, feedback as an icon in the status bar to indicate if enabled, a loop to cause the phone to remain silent until you tell it otherwise, and a mode to configure the microinteraction so that vibrates or not when receiving a message.

            Once you know all these items individually, you'll see how they work together to provide a compelling user experience for the end user.

            It's an entertaining and easy to read book. The concepts you will learn are useful for many different professional profiles. I'm sure that at the end of the book you will want to reuse some of your favorite applications or gadgets to discover which microinteractions have and you've been using usually without being aware of it.

             
            4.0

            Simple, Enjoyable

            By ecomware

            from US

            About Me Developer

            Verified Reviewer

            Pros

            • Easy to understand

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Intermediate

              Comments about oreilly Microinteractions:

              This book offers a concise overview of the attributes that make up the elements of user experience. In addition, it contains general design principles and quotes that should add value to the book for relatively novice designers–Like people from a programming or project management background.

              There are some useless analogies, which are a distraction at times. Sometimes key points sit in the middle of rambling sentences. That makes it difficult to highlight them. It would be better if the key points were made as succinctly as possible, and then further explained in the surrounding paragraph. This inconvenience is offset somewhat by good chapter summaries.

              Note to O'Reilly: Consider making chapter summaries a requisite part of all such Approach/Theory books. Reading a good book is one thing, practicing a good book is another.

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