One of the most interesting things I’m discovering about the project we’re currently working on is how most things we do on the internet, either on the computer or our smartphones, have become so intuitive with repeated use that I don’t think about each element of how I do things on a program. Now that I’m designing my own application, I find I have to consider many more details than I’d ever imagined were involved in a process.
A seamless interaction design includes confirmation messages, abilities to click back and forth through a process, page transitions that don’t distract, and making sure that each process is complete from start to finish with clear communication between the program and the user along the way.
In our reading this week, we learned about microinteractions, and I realized that there’s a formal name for those little minute details that the average user ignores until that element of the user experience is missing, and something doesn’t work for them in the way that they expected:
“Even though we’re surrounded by microinteractions every day, we don’t usually notice them until something goes horribly wrong. But microinteractions are, despite their small size and near-invisibility, incredibly important. The difference between a product you love and a product you tolerate is often the microinteractions you have with it. They can make our lives easier, more fun, and just more interesting if done well.”
What Is A Microinteraction by Dan Saffer
I am reminded of a principle I learned in art class back in my undergrad days: Great design is invisible. Bad design is very noticeable.
Or, in the words of Edward Tufte (I had the good fortune to attend one of his day-long workshops in Washington D.C. last April!): “Good design is a lot like clear thinking made visual.”