User Onboarding

15 Onboarding Micro-Interactions to Inspire Your Design

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    Home / User Onboarding / 15 Onboarding Micro-Interactions to Inspire Your Design


    • Micro-interactions can be found in various forms, such as animated action buttons, progress indicators, interactive tooltips, and hover effects/mouse-over effects.
    • They have four parts: trigger (system-initiate trigger/ user-initiate trigger), rule, feedback, and loop/mode.
    • They can be used for welcoming, educating, informing, and rewarding users, as well as customization & personalization, and error prevention.
    • They increase user engagement and product adoption and enhance user experience, as well as overall user satisfaction.
    • They can help companies to convey their brand's identity and they show a product more intuitive.

    I'm sure you're familiar with micro-interactions, right? They're those cool little pieces of visual feedback of a website or app when a user clicks, hovers over something, or even just scrolls down the page.

    They generally look like this:


    Or this:

    But let's take a step back and broaden our perspective on micro-interactions.

    Today, I'd like to shine a spotlight on onboarding micro-interactions, specifically. These are the tiny interactions that influence our first impressions and emotions toward a product when we give it a try for the first time.


    ⚡ Because according to stats, 76% of customers would continue to use a service/tool if they experienced a welcoming onboarding

    ⚡ Because according to stats, bad onboarding experience is the 3rd popular reason for churn 📉

    And let me tell you something, employing micro-interactions during your onboarding process might be the best and most effective way of ensuring a welcoming and smooth product experience for your users.

    Not sure how?

    Let's see together, shall we?

    15 Real-World Examples of Onboarding Micro-Interactions

    Micro-Interactions for Personalization

    When you think of a top-notch tailor, what comes to your mind? Someone meticulously crafting each and every detail, very slowly and carefully, with very small needles and thin threads, maybe.

    Everything must be a total perfection!

    But the process might feel a bit overwhelming -and even boring- for the customer, even though they would be very happy with the results...

    The same goes for the SaaS world, too.

    Those long onboarding surveys are crucial for product teams to tailor individual experiences to individual needs and preferences.

    But let's face it.

    They can be a bit dull from time to time.

    That's where micro-interactions come in. They add a bit of fanciness -pretty loading bars, some gifs and illustrations, shiny pulsing dots, pop-up messages...

    Here are some successful -and cool- examples 👇

    #1 Youtube Kids Keeps New Users Engaged Starting from the Log-In Page

    Youtube Kids is a platform designed to provide age-appropriate content, ensuring a safe environment to explore new interests and learn through videos for the little ones.

    The page welcomes new users with a log-in page:

    But here's the catch, you cannot create an account unless you're an adult.

    ‎When you click on the "I'm a kid" button, you cannot continue with the further steps on the onboarding!

    And when you click on the "I'm a parent" button, you're asked a bunch of questions to decide on the security settings of the account.

    P.S. I really love how they keep the flying key animation consistent throughout the process!!

    The platform asks about the age of the child in order to personalize the content recommendations.

    And finally, just before completing the set-up and forwarding the user to the product UI, Youtube Kids introduces some of the features, showing where to find them and how to use them.

    Key Takeaways From Youtube Kids' Micro-Interactions

    ✅ Skip buttons

    ✅ Consistent theme and animation design

    #2 Pinterest Ensures Personalization with Onboarding

    Whether it's for a vocabulary list, a travel itinerary, or a recipe, Pinterest is my go-to for instant information and inspiration. It's not quite a social media platform like Instagram, nor is it solely a search engine like Google.

    Pinterest is that perfect middle ground for many of us!

    And here is how it ensures a unique experience for its users 👇

    ‎Can you see how the feed in the background changes as the user adds their interest areas? First comes the wallpapers, then the flowers, and the inspirational photographs and writings...

    But gathering all that content takes time, obviously.

    Instead of boring people with an empty loading screen, Pinterest uses this time to remind them that the quality of the feed depends on the activity of the user and triggers them to keep on the hook!

    ‎👉 Learn more about triggers and hooks.

    Key Takeaways from Pinterest's Micro-Interactions

    ✅ Real-time personalization

    ✅ Effective loading screen use

    #3 Blinkist Eliminates Empty Slate with Micro-Interactions -Just Swipe Right ➡️

    I can't stand it when I'm bombarded with random recommendations right after creating an account for a product. But then again, seeing absolutely nothing on my home page feels just as frustrating.

    Am I a spoiled baby? Maybe.

    Am I an average user? Definitely.

    Blinkist, an app that offers condensed insights and summaries from non-fiction books, adeptly tackles this dilemma by providing users with personalized suggestions based on a quick interactive inquiry into their tastes and interests.

    Here's how it looks:

    Blinkist begins by posing broader questions before delving into specifics. It starts with genre preferences, followed by specific subject matter in the next step, and finally, specific book titles.

    Plus, do you see the books flying left and right, depending on the user's preference?

    Who says you can swipe right only on dating apps!

    Key Takeaways from Blinkist's Micro-Interactions

    ✅ Short and concise survey

    ✅ Logical framework for the questions

    ✅ Creative and fun! -A.k.a. great first impression

    It's all about how a user feels, don't forget.

    #4 Microsoft Edge Enhances UX by Introducing Themes During Onboarding

    Some products engage users in a treasure hunt to discover their customization options and various themes.

    Whereas successful products, such as Microsoft Edge, present customization options and possibilities right from the start, eliminating the need for users to embark on a "treasure hunt" to discover them.


    Not sure? Or don't know what's the different between them?

    Here, take a look at each of them!

    Key Takeaway from Edge's Micro-Interaction

    ✅ Real-time customization

    Micro-Interactions for Showing Around

    As I said earlier, micro-interactions are not only animations, special sliding effects, or cool loading pages. They can be product tours triggered by interactive tooltips or interactive checklists.

    As long as we're talking about a small detail of a UI that has a specific purpose of interacting with the user, we're talking about micro-interactions.


    Now, let's see some examples!

    #5 Wistia Pushes Users to Explore Different Features With A Checklist

    Wistia is a video marketing platform that enables marketers to record, edit, and analyze their video content.

    Upon creating an account, an onboarding checklist welcomes you to the product:

    What draws the first attention is that the first item on the checklist is already checked, giving a head start to the user and motivating further user interaction.

    But, what makes this checklist special other than its design?

    When a user clicks on the tasks/items on the list, it takes them directly to that feature page so that they can try it out!

    Key Takeaway from Wistia's Micro-Interaction

    ✅ Original progress indicator

    ✅ Easy to complete tasks highlighting the main features of the product

    #6 Crunch Integrates Onboarding Checklists with Interactive Guides

    Interactive checklists are cool.

    How about interactive checklists with interactive guides?


    Crunch is a UK-based accounting and management tool.

    "You live life, we do the numbers," they say.

    A pretty facilitative and customer-centric motto, I'd say. And this mindset permeates their entire product as well!

    Crunch onboarding checklist

    They welcome new customers with an onboarding checklist, highlighting the key use cases and features of the product, such as sending an invoice and recording expenses.

    The star of the show isn't the list itself but rather what it comprises:

    Interactive guides.

    All the tasks on the checklist serve as guides, showing you where things are and how they work, explaining each step meticulously, and most importantly, interactively.

    For example, here's what the product tour looks like:

    Key Takeaway from Crunch's Micro-Interaction

    ✅ Full interactivity

    ✅ Progress bar + exit button

    ✅ Dimmed background for enhanced focus

    ✅ Short, precise, and informative microcopy

    #7 Smartcat Uses Pulsing Tooltips to Take Users to A Product Tour

    Smartcat is a cloud-based tool for translation project management and localization, serving also as a job platform. What you should know about Smartcat if you haven't used it before is that it has a lot of features, and thus, a lot of subpages on its UI and a bit of a learning curve.

    For a comprehensive product like Smartcat, there are generally 2 risks:

    1. The new user feels a bit lost amidst the abundance of features.
    2. They do not fully grasp the tool's potential and wander off prematurely.

    Here's how Smartcat ensures their new users do not get lost in translation 👇

    You see the pulsing dots with tooltips?

    They're the saviors of young translators and new users.

    Key Takeaway from Smartcat's Micro-Interaction

    ✅ Pulsing dots are pretty eye-catchy

    ✅ Tooltips do not block anything on the page

    Micro-Interactions for Explaining & Introducing

    If you can utilize micro-interactions to showcase your product and conduct brief tours around your user interface (UI), can you also employ them to provide additional information for some of the more intricate features or the latest ones?


    #8 Drops Ensure A Smooth Gamified Experience with Micro-Interactions

    Drops is an innovative language learning app that seamlessly integrates gamification with language acquisition, creating an engaging and efficient learning experience for its users.

    But here's the thing with innovation and gamification:

    It can be confusing for first-time users...

    Luckily, that's not the case for Drops users thanks to micro-interactions!

    Vocabulary studying is much fun when it's all part of a game, Drops is aware of that. Yet as we said, it's not fun to play a game when you don't know the rules of it!

    That's why, in the first round of every new "game", Drops informs the user about what to do (where to drag-and-drop what, for example), and pushes them to try first.

    This approach prevents users from grappling with figuring out their next steps on their own, and ensures they don't inadvertently impact their user learning scores while navigating the platform.

    Key Takeaway from Drops' Micro-Interaction

    ✅ Gamification + Education = Perfection

    #9 Zakeke's Tooltip Provides Additional Explanation

    Zakeke is a digital platform that enables businesses to offer customizable products. They offer visual product customizer, 3D product configurator, 3D & AR viewers, and virtual try-on solutions.

    Although it has many features with intricate details, its UI is easy to navigate and understand, thanks to all the tooltips and pulsing hotspots!

    Like this:

    Or this:


    Some pieces of information need occasional reminders, especially since mentioning them solely during the onboarding process might not suffice. In Zakeke's case, they provide gentle reminders and notes before customers proceed with actions they may not have intended.

    Feeling unsure?

    Simply hover over the little dot to double-check if you're proceeding the way you want to proceed.

    Key Takeaways from Zakeke's Micro-Interactions

    ✅ "Don't show again" button

    ✅ The triggers are visible and eye-catchy

    ✅ Hover-over model maintains the page integrity

    #10 Bubble Provides Feature Previews via Hover Effect

    Clicking a button and hovering over a button mostly takes the same time.

    But it somehow doesn't feel so.

    Clicking a button is often associated with completing a task, which may not be desirable if we're uncertain of the outcome. Conversely, hovering over is less of a commitment -it's about checking and assessing.

    Additionally, there's an uncertainty associated with clicking, as we're unsure if we'll be redirected to a different page. With hovering, we know we're staying.

    It's just how user psychology works, I guess.

    Bubble is a no-code visual programming platform that enables users to design web apps and user experience (UX) flows. It has an easy-to-use drag-and-drop user interface (UI).

    Moreover, Bubble's ease of use extends beyond the interface and caters to user psychology, ensuring a smooth experience throughout.

    Here's what I mean 👇

    Let's assume you want to design a button and you have a menu of a bunch of button designs in front of you. But you're not sure what that design actually looks like.

    Which would feel much safer psychologically?

    a. Clicking on a button of button

    b. Seeing the design just by hovering over it

    For me, the answer is 100% b.

    And Bubble feels the same way, too:

    ‎No commitment, no waiting.

    Just hover over, and voilà, here is a preview of the button design.

    Key Takeaways from Bubble's Micro-Interaction

    ✅ Saves time from updating the page/design regularly

    ✅ Doesn't scare the user off -understands user psychology

    #11 Indicata's Hover-Over Hotspot Announces Its New Feature

    Indicata is a data-driven digital platform targeting the automotive industry, and offering insights to its customers about inventory management, pricing strategies, and market performance.

    And here's how they ensure high feature adoption, even for the newest ones:

    ‎As you can see, they utilize a hotspot announcement activated by hovering over to showcase their new feature. They also integrate an interactive guide with the video announcement, which eliminates any possible confusion for the users.

    Key Takeaways from Indicata's Micro-Interaction

    ✅ Fully interactive

    ✅ Effective multimedia use

    Micro-Interactions for Rewarding

    My grandma always says, "What you do is for me but what you learn is for yourself". While it's true that our actions and learning are often for personal growth, it wouldn't hurt to have a little celebration now and then.

    Imagine if someone popped confetti or awarded a medal upon sending that email -it would certainly boost motivation for future endeavors...

    I'm not asking for a flying unicorn (or, am I?)


    #13 Asana Motivates Its Users With An Animation Upon Completing A Task

    Asana is one of the most popular and successful project management tools available in the market.

    They begin by customizing the product's user interface (UI) on the onboarding screen, gathering data about the user's design preferences and schedule to tailor a more relevant-looking product.

    And they provide a real-time preview, too!

    Then comes the flying unicorn 🦄

    This is a reward animation that pops up on your screen when you complete a task from your to-do list/calendar, motivating you to continue.

    The rewards in Asana extend beyond individual tasks. The app also features a distinct reward program incentivizing further use and engagement with the platform.

    ‎As you can see, there are a bunch of tasks Asana recommends you complete in order to fully utilize the platforms, such as inviting co-workers, taking a look at the product manual, or trying out various features you haven't tried.

    To offer extra motivation for completing tasks, Asana introduces levels of accomplishment. Users begin as beginners, and as they fulfill more tasks within the list, their level advances.

    For example:

    Upon completing a task, such as changing the theme, the progress bar advances, while the number of remaining tasks required to level up decreases.

    Key Takeaways from Asana's Micro-Interactions

    ✅ Unique animations

    ✅ Real-time customization preview

    ✅ Levels of accomplishment that motivate users to engage with the product

    Really good practice, Asana! 💯

    #12 Structured App Forms a Sense of Accomplishment in Its Users

    Flying fantastic animals are a bit too much for your product's design core?

    No problem.

    Structured, a planning application, achieves the same sense of accomplishment with much smaller animations.

    Look at their smooth and subtle animations:


    My primary argument in favor of physical pen and paper to-do lists over digital ones has always been the satisfaction derived from physically crossing out a completed task. 📝

    But after seeing Structured's onboarding checklist animations?

    I have nothing more to say, really.

    Key Takeaway from Structured App's Micro-Interaction

    ✅ Incorporation of different animations

    #14 Canva Celebrates Its Users Upon Completing The Initial Set-Up

    Up in the beginning, we talked about the risks of long user onboarding surveys for personalization, remember?

    Canva, one of the most popular online design tools, recognizes the challenge and potential monotony of the account set-up. And to show appreciation, they celebrate users' achievements by popping confetti!

    Whoo, you set up your account 🎉🎉

    Key Takeaway from Canva's Micro-Interaction

    ✅ You can appreciate any effort/success with a cool animation

    #15 Toggl Uses Hotspots to Congratulate Its Users

    You can integrate different micro-interactions and create a macro series of micro-interactions, too.

    Like Toggl Track.

    Toggl is a time-tracking tool mostly used for productivity reasons and resource allocation & billing.

    Toggl offers an interactive product tour, after which it congratulates the user with a final hotspot and appreciates the time and effort they put into the tour.

    Key Takeaway from Toggl Track's Micro-Interactions

    ✅ You can mix and match different interactive elements to create a holistic and seamless user experience (UX)

    ✅ You don't need popping animations, fancy celebratory gifs or complicated series of codes to create micro-interactions

    In Short...

    Micro-interactions might seem like tiny design elements that mostly go unnoticed rather than functional animations or powerful tools to reduce friction and enhance engagement and customer experience.

    Yet, they are much more than their design component.

    They guide the user. They notify the user. They provide immediate feedback and prevent error. They set you apart from your competitors, and most importantly, they delight the user.

    Still not a fan of micro-interactions?

    I don't think so.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is a micro interaction?

    A micro interaction is a crucial element in app design that facilitates user interaction in a subtle way. It provides instant visual feedback during and after tasks like dynamic loading pages or pressing the final submit button. These interactions ensure a seamless experience by offering visual cues that guide users throughout their journey within the application UI.

    What are some benefits of using microinteractions?

    Microinteractions have a crucial role in improving overall user experience, as they reduce usability flaws, communicate brand identity, and provide visual feedback for user actions. They also enhance engagement and facilitate smoother navigation, fostering a more intuitive interaction with digital interaces.

    What is the difference between animations and microinteractions?

    Microinteractions encompass various forms, not limited to animations. They can include tooltips, hotspots, or progress bars, offering dynamic feedback during the onboarding and loading processes, or in response to any user action. Microinteractions have specific functionalities, such as boosting user interaction, whereas animations might have more design-oriented functions, too.

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