The web can be a source of all kinds of emotions, ranging from pure happiness to sheer frustration. Of course, everyone wants to avoid the latter – and not without a reason. Nothing will turn a visitor away from your website faster than coming across a problem or issue that they cannot see an instant way around. Even a pet peeve can see a potential customer going elsewhere at the speed of a mouse click.

Maybe it was the slow loading time, the poor design, the frustrating lack of clarity – no matter the case, we are sure you can relate. However, we are here to tell you that the real ROI comes from finding these common frustrations and fixing them.

So, let’s understand more in detail about UX friction!

What is UX friction?

UX friction—also called user experience friction or user friction—is visitors’ expression when they visit a website and find errors and mistakes in terms of navigation, user-friendliness, performance, and others. Simply put, UX Friction is anything that keeps a user from accomplishing a desired action on a website or app.We, as humans, tend to remember the negative things in more detail than the positive ones. Once something frustrating happens, it’s more likely to stick than the good things. So, why does user friction usually happen?

  • A site or app isn’t intuitive;

  • There’s a bug or malfunction;

  • The user interface isn’t designed clearly or isn’t usable;

  • An action requires too many extra steps to complete;

  • Pages have slow load times;

  • Forms or other inputs don’t follow best practices;

  • Users mistaken take irreversible actions;

  • User expectations are simply not met.

Based on what causes these UX frictions that occur on a website or app, and how they affect the user, we can separate them into three key categories of user friction:

  • Emotional friction - it occurs when it’s difficult for users to complete a task on a site or app, which can result in negative emotions on the user's side;

  • Interactive friction - it occurs when a site or app’s interface is confusing or not easily navigable for users;

  • Cognitive friction - it occurs when an interface doesn’t function in the way a user expects it to and requires too much cognitive load to complete a given task.

Identifying UX friction

Identifying user friction on websites has always been a difficult and inexact science, but there are certainly ways you can do so accurately. With modern product analytics and Digital Experience Intelligence solutions, you can automatically detect different types of friction.

So, when looking to identify UX friction, what types of friction should we be looking for? Here are some signs that your users are having frustrating experiences:

  • Rage clicks - happens when users click or tap rapidly on your site or app, usually signaling that a button isn’t working (or isn’t working quickly enough);

  • Dead Clicks - are the result of a user clicking or tapping on a non-clickable element (which doesn’t actually change the page);

  • Error Click - occurs when a user triggers a client-side JavaScript error, though the user might realize that they’ve encountered a broken element;

  • Form Abandonment - usually, utilizing session replay is needed to watch sessions and understand exactly where and why users abandon a form;

  • Pinch-to-Zoom - when a user uses a touchpad or touchscreen to zoom in or out indicating that some element of your digital experience is sized improperly or is displaying incorrectly.

These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what can cause user friction, have in mind that negative affect can make it harder to do even easy tasks: positive affect can make it easier to do difficult ones.

Sogody as the answer

We know a lot about what causes frustration, and recognize many of the telltale signs (even if they are argued over). But when diagnosing all the User Experience flaws of a website, there isn’t a single comprehensive and agreed-upon methodology that accurately pinpoints every problem. However, with new technologies for doing advanced, big data-style UX Research, it is possible to capture every session – every story, every moment, every interaction–to help us observe and record each users’ thoughts, and nonverbal preferences.

Regardless of whether the issue is with UX, UI, or front-end code, or even if the problem lies somewhere outside the browser (like in a database), we make sure that every facet of your site works together smoothly and perfectly.

When we eliminate user friction, the sitemap becomes a logical guide for visitors to follow rather than a confusing web of distractions that stand in the way of their goals. Optimizing your site for low friction will benefit your website’s ease of use and reliability – two essential parts of any successful online business.

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