Reducing UX friction for more seamless digital experiences

Boost user engagement and satisfaction to drive business success

What is UX friction?

UX friction describes any factor that prevents users from efficiently and effectively achieving a desired state or outcome in a digital product or service. This could include confusing layouts, components that aren’t working correctly, slow-loading pages, and more. Similar terms include user friction, user experience friction, or digital friction.

It’s becoming more and more crucial — and increasingly challenging — for businesses to keep up with rising user expectations for near-perfect digital experiences. Those who can’t create and maintain this quality of experience will lose customers to those who can. UX friction is one of the primary obstacles to delivering seamless experiences that satisfy your users and support your business goals.

Why does user friction happen?

While there are many types of UX friction, they can be broadly categorized into three main groups: interaction, cognitive, and emotional friction.

  • Interaction friction occurs when your site or app is difficult to use or not working properly. Sometimes, this is related to your digital product’s technical performance, such as slow load times, unresponsive elements, or broken links. Other times, it can result from poor design choices, such as small buttons, lack of accessibility features, or unclear calls to action.
  • Cognitive friction happens when your digital product doesn’t meet user expectations or requires too much mental effort to navigate. For example, a site or app that scrolls horizontally instead of vertically can be off-putting for users who are accustomed to standard scrolling behavior. Likewise, unnecessarily confusing or complicated user flows can be overwhelming and cause users to abandon their tasks.
  • Emotional friction often overlaps with interaction or cognitive friction. You typically want your users to feel positive emotions while using your site or app — delight with engaging visuals, confidence in your ability to exceed their expectations, comfort while navigating intuitive interfaces, satisfaction when completing goals. Emotional friction happens when a user instead experiences negative feelings like confusion, frustration, or dissatisfaction, driving them away from your digital product.

Minimizing interaction, cognitive, and emotional friction can help you ensure your digital product is easy to use and enjoyable for all.

What are some signs of user experience friction?

UX friction can be difficult to quantify or detect, especially when users abandon their sessions without ever triggering any error messages or alerting your team to the problems they experienced. Some signs of user friction to look out for include:

  • High bounce rates: Users leaving your site or app soon after arriving
  • High exit rates: Users frequently leaving your site or app, especially from specific pages
  • Rage clicks: Users repeatedly clicking or tapping a particular element that either isn’t working or isn’t clickable in the first place
  • Low conversion rates: Users not completing conversion flows
  • High abandonment rates: Users starting tasks or processes but abandoning or having difficulty completing them
  • Negative user feedback: Users reaching out repeatedly for support or sharing complaints and poor reviews, especially about specific aspects of your site or app

You should also keep track of any technical issues occurring within your digital product. Users encountering things like frustrating network requests or slow-loading pages are quick to abandon their activity in search of a site or application that will meet their needs.

Best practices for reducing UX friction

Eliminating UX friction can help improve user satisfaction, which, in turn, can enhance your brand reputation, increase conversion rates, and support your business goals.

Keep your UI simple and consistent

Make sure your digital product is easy to use and navigate. Avoid overcomplicating your interface with too many options, features, or controls. This includes following conventional scrolling behavior, widget or element placement, icon usage, and other UX decisions.

Prioritize accessibility

Following accessibility guidelines is a great way to ensure a smooth experience for all your users. Not only can you reach a wider audience with an inclusive design, but most web and mobile accessibility practices make digital products easier for everyone to use.

For example, choosing highly contrasting colors makes your digital product accessible to people with low vision, but it also makes your content generally easier to consume. Likewise, including things like structured headings and alternative text for images is useful for users with screen readers, and it also ensures your site or app will still be navigable if certain elements fail to load.

Monitor technical performance

Tracking performance in vital areas of your product, such as conversion funnels and high-value interaction points, can help you quickly identify when technical issues are creating user friction or frustration. Monitor alerts, errors, and other data to surface problems, scope their impact, and quickly ship necessary fixes.

Although there are many tools to help with monitoring technical performance, they often come with pain points and pitfalls that can prevent you from catching vital issues before they affect user sentiment or business goals.

Some tools may be too noisy, alerting you to every problem instead of showing you where you really need to focus your attention. Others may show you what’s happening but lack the technical telemetry and crucial context to help you understand why, how many users are being affected, and what your next steps should be.

For a thorough understanding of user behavior and performance insights that will help you create better, frictionless user experiences, you need a tool like LogRocket.

How does LogRocket help reduce UX friction?

LogRocket offers powerful features you can employ to effectively identify and eliminate friction points:

  • Track key metrics that indicate user frustration across your product, including rage clicks, dead clicks, frustrating network requests, and error messages
  • View user session recordings alongside technical context to better understand exactly how users experience your digital product, including where and why they encounter friction
  • Gauge the impact of an issue with insights into how many users were affected by a problem, how often it occurs, and more

By pairing this data with LogRocket’s Galileo machine learning module, you can quickly prioritize issues by severity and collaborate across teams to resolve them. Based on over a trillion user interactions, LogRocket Galileo helps cut through false positives and noise by automatically cataloging UX and technical issues, gauging the severity based on our machine learning algorithms, and proactively alerting the relevant stakeholders for issues identified as severe.

Quickly identify, understand, and resolve UX friction points in your web and mobile apps at their source. Get a complete picture of what’s happening, prioritize and communicate more effectively, and ensure the ideal digital experience for every user.

Try it yourself for free!

Install LogRocket in under 3 minutes. Get free access to all features for 14 days. Cancel at any time.