Micro UX is a small element in a product’s design, focused entirely on a single task. 

These simple interactions and effects are primarily designed to create an interesting and hopefully unique experience for the user. 

Here we’ll be finding out how these little details can make a big difference.

The human quality

As Dan Saffer the author of Microinteractions states “it’s the details that make systems feel more human, and more humane.” 

Obtaining that ‘human’ quality is relatively simple, as product teams can obtain user feedback and iterate the design based on these responses, leading to a more customer-informed experience.

It’s also a lot easier and cheaper to test iterations of a design, thanks to improvements in technology, a wider access to knowledge and better availability of real-time tracking tools. 

Ultimately micro UX design is about delighting the user by using innovative design features that not only make a task easier but also create an engaging experience that’s a pleasure to repeat. Here are 14 of my favourites...

More cat Gifs please

Just pull down with your finger for a refreshed Facebook newsfeed. The same function works for many apps on the iPhone. 

Google autofill me up

I think you’ll find I’m a gen x’er.

Hover zoom

Just by hovering your mouse over one of American Apparel’s product images you can see an enlarged section right next to it.

You can make it!

The Daily Beast has a hovering box filled with popular topics. The grey progress bar indicates how much of an article you’ve read.

Which account to send an offensive tweet from today? 

Switch between accounts on Twitter by dragging your header image down with your finger.

From silver to gold

Apple’s product pages contain images that alter as you select different variations.

No need to shout...

On Flickr if people leave caps lock on by accident, it will convert the message into more civilised lower case. 

Email annihalator

In Gmail’s latest incarnation you can take out vast swathes of your inbox with a swipe of the finger.


On the Waitrose homepage there’s a notepad that you can quickly write your shopping list down on, hit search and it will find these items for you.

Christopher is typing

Google Hangouts and other IM providers include a real-time ‘is typing’ function because otherwise you’d never be quite sure if someone is ignoring you or typing a long reply.

Mmm… hamburgers

How quickly we learnt how these three lines hold a world of navigation.

How can you resist?

When you add an item to the basket on Threadless you’re greeted with a pop-up featuring a leaping anthropomorphic cart, licking its lips and saying “1 item added to my carry belly”. I’d imagine this is off-putting for some. Not this weirdo though.

Leaving on a jet plane

When I scroll down the ASOS homepage, a little animated airplane travels across the screen drawing my attention to the free delivery.

And then a slide to the right.

Ultimately, I just really love sliding buttons. Pinterest is full of them.

For more on web design from the blog check out our crucial web design trends of 2015, also these 16 beautiful examples of flat design in ecommerce and 20 examples of beautifully persuasive ecommerce design. 

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 3 December, 2014 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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Comments (6)

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Morgan Jones

Morgan Jones, Digital Manager at Freestone Creative

If you want something like this, but in more depth, I would unhesitatingly point you in the direction of http://blog.brianlovin.com/design-details/

over 3 years ago

Stuart McMillan

Stuart McMillan, Deputy Head of Ecommerce at Schuh

Great article, it's something I'd like to apply to us in 2015, hopefully we'd make this article in a years time!

@Morgan, that's a great link you posted.

over 3 years ago


James Skinner, Digital IT Operations Manager at Dyson

Hmmm, not sure I would rate the first three as particularly exciting micro-UX, nor worthy of a 2014 article...

over 3 years ago

Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff, Editor at Methods Unsound / Search Engine Watch

@james - That's a fair comment. This is meant to be an 'entry level' beginner's guide to what micro-UX is though, rather than a list of exciting recent developments.

over 3 years ago


James Skinner, Digital IT Operations Manager at Dyson

There's certainly some interesting stuff in there. One of my favourite recent examples of auto-fill is from Royal Mail - their postcode finder should be the benchmark for all address entry forms in my view. http://www.royalmail.com/find-a-postcode

over 3 years ago


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7 months ago

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