The relationship between people and digital interfaces is growing every day, and therefore grows the need to apply UX at organizations. The objective is aimed at improving the experiences by reducing the friction.
Within the user’s experience, there are interactions that difficult the digital interface and make it impossible for them to achieve their objectives in a simple and intuitive way. That is called ‘friction’. A bad experience involves reduction of the ‘engagement’ or affinity of the user with our application and consequently, a low in the rates of conversion. Apps like Pinterest, Uber or Tinder have focused on reducing friction along the entire user’s experience with the brand and have triumphed, as a result to it.
Users have more and more options to choose from. They will select as their best alternative that one which takes them into account and meets their needs. This is why the use of UX techniques to eliminate friction in the relationship between users and systems has turned into a competitive advantage.
Some techniques that help us improve experiences and reduce friction are:
Getting to know the user through research and the use of quantitative and qualitative data.
Understanding users’ mental models and their behaviors is key to improving the experiences and reducing friction. Ethnographic observation techniques, interviews, focus group or card sorting, as well as techniques based on eye tracking and neuroscience, provide valuable insights in order to understand what users want or expect to find in applications or systems.
The use of metrics and its analysis is a powerful tool to learn how users think. They also serve to validate and test the experiences that have already been designed, before bringing them to the market.
Taking the interactions into account and making the interface ‘invisible’ to the user.
Companies have thrown themselves into trying to eliminate friction by diving the user into immersive experiences that involve them sentimentally and make the interface almost imperceptible to them. Google, along with Material Design, was inspired by the true behavior of materials: their surfaces, lights, shadows and movements, to recreate them in virtual environments and thus generate interfaces with greater ‘affordance’.
Pinterest has used body language in its UI to reduce friction and improve the experience. It is not by chance that it has become one of the most innovative companies in recent years, and that many advertisers choose it to promote their products or services.
On the other hand, the use of Virtual Reality in marketing and advertising actions has been reused as a way of bringing the user to reality, blurring the limits between real and unreal. Coca-Cola, for example, released a marketing campaign during the Brazil 2014 World Cup, where you could be part of an immersive experience -playing a party in the field- by only using the VR Oculus Rift lenses.
Techniques such as ‘Gamification’ are also being used to generate engagement and improve the experience of users with the brands. Through the introduction of game techniques in not recreational contexts, users participate actively and proactively in actions that require their effort of will.
In conclusion, since time immemorial we have attempted to shorten the gap between the user and the system. Nowadays, eliminating friction with UX techniques is making companies attract and retain more users, and thus becoming more successful and raising their standards.