Frictionless Design

Branding / June 11, 2012

Design solves problems. It’s all about the process of taking an idea or message that seems scattered, and making it communicate effectively.

When design gets in the way, I call it friction. Design is not about the trends; it’s not about winning awards. When the end user has effectively understood and received the message you want to communicate, that’s when design is executed effectively.

Just this week we experienced a “friction” experience with a new vendor, as we tried to obtain a quote. Their website was hard to follow and their online chat, which is meant to help, was a horrendous experience. Just because you can offer a service doesn’t mean you should. 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.

Da Vinci said, “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

Your organization is complex, but at the heart of it all, your message is simple. Pull the simple out of the chaos and clearly communicate that to the world effectively.

I can give plenty of examples of frictional design, like your phone bill.

Where else have you experienced frictional design?