UI19 OnDemand

Videos from the 2014 User Interface 19 Conference

Designing Micro­interactions

Dan Saffer · Wednesday, October 29 · 8:30am – 5:30pm ·Pacific E ·fewer than 15 seats left

Photo of Dan Saffer

Design those often-overlooked UX elements—like microcopy, form controls, and system defaults—to increase your user engagement. 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.

Dan wrote the book on micro­interactions. He’s the creative director at Smart Design in San Francisco.

The day’s agenda


Triggers of micro­interactions

  • How to identify micro­interactions, and why they’re critical to the feeling of a product
  • The system and manual events that users do on their own
  • When to use different types of triggers and how data influences 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 reduce choice to make a more efficient experience


Design using feedback

  • How to use visual and sound feedback to convey the right message
  • Ways to convey feedback by using things already on the screen
  • Tips to craft strong microcopy that users will understand and appreciate

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
  • How your micro­interaction changes over time

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 follows a user from device to device. Create a holistic ecosystem that represents your organization in unique, compelling ways.

You’ll see how to:

  • Surprise users (in a good way!) with different kinds of feedback
  • Choose the “right” micro­interaction based on context and device
  • 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
  • Not start from “zero” when designing your product

Use microinteractions to improve your design

Signature moments make your organization look awesome
Get a new model to address small details in your products and easily diagnose usability issues.
A repeatable model to evaluate your existing products
Identify and improve the often-overlooked areas where you can build in user delight.
Microinteractions that feel responsive to users, no matter which device they use 
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.

Heavy on workshopping, light on lecture

You’ll dig into tons of exercises that span desktop and enterprise-level experiences. Prepare to experiment with a variety of controls, triggers, and feedback types. You’ll then work individually and in groups to put it all together by designing a device-specific microinteraction that uses all of the elements discussed in the workshop.

Dan Saffer, Micro­Designer

Photo of Dan Saffer

O Danny Boy is the online home of Dan Saffer, the interaction designer whose books have become mainstays for any of us working in the UX industry. Attendees loved his workshop at UI18, so we’re thrilled he’ll be back to knock your socks off in October.

For over two decades Dan’s designs has spanned from websites to consumer electronics to robots. He feels that design isn’t only about problem solving, but about creating a better, more humane, future.

Dan is a creative director at Smart Design in San Francisco, where he creates compelling and memorable interfaces for clients from startups to Samsung. 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.


Dan Saffer discusses the triggers, rules, and loops that goes into microinteractions.

Listen to the Podcast Now Read the Transcript

Prefer a different workshop? There are 3 other options on Wednesday

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