Delightful Microinteractions

I’ve written in the past about how poorly-designed micro-interactions can undermine your users’ confidence in and commitment to your product or platform, and why you should seriously undertake the effort to fix those.

This time I want to talk about the other end of design: delightful interactions.

Last fall, Daedalus switched to a new platform for designing and sending out our newsletters. When it came time for me to launch our first newsletter on the new platform, I was, understandably, a bit anxious. Was I really ready to send out the newsletter to thousands of people? What if I missed something silly, like a typo or a stray punctuation mark? Did I double-check that all the links are still good? Was there anything about the new platform that might have tripped me up? Did I miss anything else?

Mailchimp screen capture of a sweaty paw about to press a button
Mail Chimp Screen Capture

When I pressed the Send button, I was expecting the standard confirmation message of “Are you sure that you want to do this?” So imagine my surprise when—coupled with that standard message—I was presented with a graphic of a shaky and sweaty monkey paw hovering over the launch button with a message telling me that this was my moment of glory!

It was so unexpected that I laughed aloud and called over my fellow designers so they could experience it too. That small amount of tension from a few moments ago … gone. I sent off the newsletter and moved on to other tasks.

Honestly, that one small micro-interaction absolutely made my day.

As humorous as it was—and it still delights me today—the key thing was that this seemingly silly micro-interaction clearly illustrated how in tune the designers had been with what their users were likely to be feeling at that very moment. Knowing that the designers had been that insightful and empathetic increased my confidence in the platform overall.

Humor has its place, either to empathize with the user or to defuse their frustrations*. While that place is perhaps not in the medical and safety products that Daedalus often designs, I have to ask myself: how else we might illustrate to our users that we are truly in tune with what they might be feeling and experiencing as they interact with our designs?

One Daedalus design that I enjoy telling people about is our remote control for mining equipmentnot only is it amazingly functional for controlling the mining machine it pairs with, but it’s also sturdy enough to flip over and use as a lunch seat in a pretty rough environment!

Products and features are supposed to be functional and usable. Shouldn’t they also be delightful?

What are some micro-interactions that make you smile?

*Check out these creative 404 pages, like the Lego page that assures you that “everything is STILL AWESOME”.