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Wednesday, December 07, 2011

What is Friction?

With the holiday season in full swing I find myself in situations that are more trouble than they are worth. Traveling through certain intersections, finding people driving cars that just aren't following the road signs causing congestion. More programs and competitions for my daughter - that sometimes occur on the same day causing me to become Wonder Woman to get her to both...

I'm sure you've had your share of frustrations trying to accomplish even the simplest of tasks. In the web world we call that friction and it happens more often than not.

Examples of friction:
  • Websites that ask for more info than I am willing to give in exchange for a simple newsletter sign up or white paper download.
  • Being required to "create an account" just to browse a shopping site.
  • Clicking a link from search engine expecting to see something specific only to discover that actually finding the item on the website is impossible.
  • Trying to "check out" and being required to use PayPal when I prefer to use my credit card.
Those are just a few of my recent encounters - what examples of friction have you encountered lately? Take the friction poll on our Facebook page.

The point is that the more friction there is in any process the less likely a person will be to complete the process. If you want someone to complete a form, don't make them click 3 or 4 times to get to it. If you want to offer a newsletter, keep it simple - all you really need is an email address. And if you advertise something, for goodness sake make the link go straight to the subject, not the home page where I'm left wandering around.

Business owners: take a look at your website and ask yourself, "where can I reduce or remove the obstacles to the goal?" If you can follow that thought process I'm sure you'll find where you can make things easier, more clear for your web visitors and that will lead to an increase in conversions.

Comments? Questions? Please feel free to comment!

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