Interactive components help UX designers with quick prototyping and make prototypes closer to the real product or feature. They can be beneficial during design testing with users because you can easily check the final product’s usability and overall user satisfaction.
Let’s go deeper and study the types of special effects of interactive components, and take a step-by-step journey through using them in Figma.
Interactive components are a powerful Figma feature that helps to create interactions between variants in a component set. Helping to create prototyping connections between variants, they include various elements such as buttons, sliders, toggles and switches, carousels, dropdown menus, and many other interactive components. You can create multiple variant states for interactive components that makes setting up different behavior for each state possible.
Before Figma introduced interactive components, designers created several screens to show the state of the prototype. They linked frames to show the user flow.
Now, you can create interactions in a component. That means that when you add an instance to your design, interactions are ready to use, so you don’t need to create each interaction manually. This greatly improves workflow efficiency.
The main advantage of the interactive components feature is that you don’t need to duplicate multiple frames. You can easily create prototype interactions between different versions in a component set. It will help you to avoid a mess in your Figma file and save a lot of time. When you add an instance, the interactions are automatically set up.
Interactive components are realistic. They help developers, stakeholders, and even users better understand the functionality of the final product. Through triggers like clicks, hovers, or taps, users actively interact with the elements.
Standardized interactions will help you to stay consistent throughout a project. By creating an interactive component once, you can use it across different screens and states within the project. It not only saves your time but helps users meet familiar behaviors, and this makes your design more user friendly.
Interactive components include a bunch of great features that define how users will interact with the site or an app. They bring simplicity and efficiency to the design. Interactive components are usually divided into four essential parts — triggers, rules, feedback, loops, and modes. These four parts transform static design elements into dynamic, making the user experience intuitive.
Triggers set the motion. For example, a click, a hover, or a tap starts the interactive components inviting users to move forward. And it’s not just about functionality, but it is also about the connection with the user because each trigger calls users to discover more.
Some examples of interactions through triggers are:
Most triggers are user initiated, but there are also system-initiated triggers. Some examples of them are notifications, pop-ups, or animation.
Rules define the behavior of the element. Designers set them to determine the system’s reaction. Rules dictate how the trigger will respond: change color, drop down, or appear on a click.
Feedback is the result of user action. It visually confirms that interaction took place. Some examples of feedback are status changes, a signal of successful action, or a sound effect. Feedback helps to make the digital conversation not just functional but also meaningful.
Loops make specific elements or actions to repeat, creating a dynamic and continuous flow. Models represent different states or variations that a component may have depending on specific conditions or interactions. It’s about how the design element changes depending on the scenario.
Examples of loops are infinite scrolling on social media feeds, and auto-playing slideshows to showcase different images or products. To understand models, think of switching between map view and street view in Google Maps.
Interactive components are the core elements you use on a site or in an app to make everything work, like forms you fill in or buttons you click to navigate through the website pages.
Microinteractions are small, cute animations that make those core elements more user-friendly and enjoyable. They serve a single purpose and give users visual feedback when they interact with your product. For example, a button changes color when users hover over it, so users understand that it’s clickable:
Interactive elements help you to make your design more engaging, intuitive, and user friendly. Before you start creating microinteraction, you should clearly understand the purpose and how it will improve the overall user experience. Think about what problem are you solving, what emotion are you evoking, and how to make interaction consistent, intuitive, and meaningful.
When you establish goals and find the solution, it’s great to test your prototypes with real users. It’s always better to have feedback to improve your design.
Let’s put theory into practice and create some simple microinteractions using Figma’s interactive components.
Interactive buttons are crucial in any design because they engage users, contribute to intuitive navigation, and provide visual feedback, improving the overall usability of the interface. Buttons are also important for marketing, as they are used as call-to-action elements. An interactive button can influence users’ behavior and decision-making.
Let’s go to step-by-step instructions on how to create an interactive button component in Figma with three states: default, hover, and pressed.
To start, I created a static mockup for my future button, using a rectangle tool, then customized the fill color and text to represent the default state of the button:
Next, I created a component, added two variants, customized each variant, and then set properties: default, hover, and while pressing:
Then, I switched to the prototype mode on the right-side panel and made interactions for the buttons I’ve created. You can watch this video to see how the button works:
To continue discussing users’ decision-making process, it’s essential to bring up the concept of binary options, as it can significantly help users make quick decisions.
Usually, the binary switch is a simple toggle that allows users to switch between two states, on and off. It’s time to start creating it.
First of all, I designed a container for the switch and added a small circle that serves as a toggle element:
Then I turned the elements into a component and set variants. To create a prototype with interactive states, I set up interactions for switching between on and off:
Voila, your toggle is ready. You can check it in preview mode.
A binary button is very similar to a toggle because it usually gives a simple, binary choice to the user. I followed the same steps for creating it as I did with other binary options.
First, I created a design: two contrasting elements with yes/no labels, I also added variants with yes/no states. The only difference is I included the “on click” interaction instead of the “on drag” I used in the toggle:
The result looks like this:
Often confused with checkboxes, radio buttons are components that help users select an option from a given set of options. The key difference between checkboxes and radio buttons is that radio buttons have only one option to choose and the checkbox can have multiple options. When the option is selected, the corresponding radio button is activated, showing the user his choice.
Let’s create both options, starting with a radio button.
Initially, I drew a circle using the ellipse tool and customized it — I chose the fill color, stroke, and size to match my design. Then, I added a smaller circle that acted as an indicator when the button was selected. I included all necessary options and labels for each button and, after that, created a component:
I added three variants to the component with only one chosen option each; they were daily, weekly, and monthly:
Then, the same as in the previous example, I moved to the right-side panel and added interactions to variants. I added “on click” interactions and created connections between all the variants:
As a result, when I choose a particular option, only one can be selected. See how the radio button works in the video:
Let’s move to the checkbox. It serves different purposes — users should have multiple independent choices with this component. So to design the checkbox, I created a component with two variants and selected/unselected properties and added interactions “on click”:
See how the radio button and checkbox prototypes work and the difference between them in the video below:
Let’s put all this knowledge together: you can now craft a like button!
A like button is essential for users to express their positive reactions or to save products they like for the future. To craft a like button, use the same principles; either use a ready-made icon or design your own.
Then, create a component including two variants like/unlike. Connect variants with the prototyping tool, selecting interaction on click. Enjoy your interactive like button!
I hope this tutorial will assist you in mastering interactive components and make your Figma workflow easier, your prototypes more realistic, and your design more user friendly. Good luck as you immerse into the world of interactive design!
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