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Frictionless Design

What does it mean to be “frictionless”? Simple, efficient, seamless, clean… these are all related – but there’s something about the term “frictionless”. I like it because it’s all about taking a bad process and making it better.

Articles by Betterment Editors
By the Editorial Staff Betterment Resource Center Published Jun. 08, 2012
Published Jun. 08, 2012
2 min read

 

We talk about simplicity a lot at Betterment. Da Vinci said: “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” and we believe that is     true. Clever design is taking a complex process or frustrating experience and making it simple

– well really, making it frictionless. The process under the hood is still complex, but the experience is intuitive: it just works.“We want devices that do a lot, but that do not confuse, do not lead to frustration. Ahah! This is not about simplicity: it is about frustration.”

Don Norman, JND.org

“Friction is a hassle. Steps. Process. And in this increasingly tech­ni­fied world, there is still a surprising amount of red tape—and few examples of push back. We stress about things like price, storage and processor speed, instead of beauty, elegance and low friction.”

David Pogue, Scientific American

“We realized that when were describing people’s desired media experiences, we often used the word “frictionless.” It was meant to evoke an “it just works” sentiment.”

Peter Merholz, Adaptive Path

“Frictionless design is about dealing with and removing barriers and constraints. It’s about minimizing cognitive dissonance in the user experience. It ties the form of the things we design straight to the function. The idea of frictionless design is to build for the user experience. It is to build a user experience that might be complex, but is ultimately understandable and usable.”

Bernard Yu, Bernardyu.com

There are countless examples of processes that are rage inducing, frustrating, and unnecessarily complex: phone bills, health care plans, airport security …

But there are plenty of products making tangled processes frictionless. Finding a product that “just works” is a beautiful thing.

Which ones are your favorites?

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