In order to succeed in UX design you will have to make difference, in a positive way through your design. If you look at Twitter, when it was launched many users simply had a hard time in understanding the concept of it, especially the microblog service wherein they were only allowed to write posts limited to 140 characters only. Bad friction, isn’t it?
Well, look at the good side of it. To use Twitter, people had to get accustomed to it, learn how to communicate using such short tweets, how it can leverage this digital product, and lots more. However, the good side of it is that it kept all the blogs, or micro-blogs posted on Twitter:
• Easy to understand and
• Usable even on mobile.
It is these features that differentiated Twitter from all other social media platforms and made it so popular.
Websites that deal with subscription based products needs to differentiate them and their plans from the others and so there is a constant urge in the designers to upgrade in the following ways:
• Incorporating useful and fewer features
• Providing less storage for low end plans
• Offering free plans
• Playing free ads in between and others.
All these will ensure a better, seamless and frictionless user experience. Another significant benefit of such an approach is that it can keep the prices significantly low. However, studies have revealed that people value self-built products disproportionately higher than those they have to work on. This creates friction and sometimes such useful frictions may actually increase the apparent value of the UX web design as well as the site.
Minimize the cognitive load
Follow the general rule of thumb for the UX designers, which is to minimize the cognitive load on the users as much as possible. Typically, all users want to do or get anything done as quickly, effortlessly and seamlessly as possible. Therefore make sure that your design does not have any of these following:
• Too many steps in accomplishing any task
• Unnecessary decisions to make
• Irrelevant questions to answer
• Unclear and difficult navigation
• Less useful features
• Unfamiliar design patterns,
• Cluttered and too much information making the text confusing
• Too much visual noise on the screen and
• Any other issues that you may come to know from your user research.
That means you will need to be reasonable with your design and consider the needs of the users. You will need to relate their needs with the offerings of your website design. This will help you to create a really useful and efficient UX design tool considering all possible scenarios.
Steps to improve UX
There are lots of ways in which you can improve the UX in your design. These ways will also prevent the users from making any bad or wrong decisions. You can:
• Ensure that the process before the user takes an important decision is slowed down
• Ensure more time is taken to explain what is happening
• Slightly nudge the users
• Think outside the box and
• Leverage a little friction if it is required by the context.
Though all others may seem good enough to you, the last one may raise your eyebrows a bit. Yes, friction can improve UX in ways more than one though most people believe that it raises negative thoughts in minds of the users as well as in most of the designers.
Contradiction regarding friction
If you ask any UX designer of the past about friction, most of them will claim in unison that friction damages a UX. They will also cite several reasons for it such as:
• It slows down interactions
• It reduces conversions and
• It impedes progress.
Frictionless UX design seemed to be the business goal of the designers them who were obsessed with the idea of completing any task in the smoothest, fastest, and most efficient way. Well, this may seem to be very logical knowing the fact that users are not willing to wait longer for a task to be completed. Therefore, you may feel that the ideal UX is quick and easy. However, this is not true always.The modern UX designers possess a different notion on frictions and often recommend using it in a design. They think that friction in a UX design is very helpful to facilitate the interaction as opposed to getting in its way. It will create more value!
The ways friction improves UX
With the friction such as the confirmation dialog before taking an important action will prevent users from making bad decisions.
• This will actually provide them with an opportunity to think and even reconsider if need be about what they are doing. This will eventually reduce the risk of making any mistakes. This is because the effort required to overcome the friction will pause the decision making process of the users for a couple of seconds allowing them to stop, think, analyze and then proceed without making any mistakes unintentionally. It will put the users out of the ‘autopilot’ mode and promote critical and cognitive thinking and proper reflection on the specific action he or she is about to perform. For example, a dialog box with two buttons such as ‘next’ and ‘cancel.’
• It will also promote building skills to identify and rectify issues and confusions with the increased cognitive load. This is especially good for educational products and even gaming and will significantly improve the outcome. It will ensure more safety as there will be no time of trials and errors. Therefore, frictions, if used properly can foster learning. It will make them feel good, often referred to as the ‘IKEA effect’ in UX design circuit meaning the feelings of accomplishment.
However, you as a designer should know and overcome the challenge. You must be very careful with friction so that it is exciting and not frustrating. It should not make it too challenging for the users as that will lead to stress and little apathy. Remember, friction has always had a bad reputation but it does not need to be inherently negative. It all depends on you relating it with the context properly.