Friction is defined as the resistance that one surface or object encounters when moving over another. Metaphorically, we can understand friction as the force needed to achieve a goal or perform a task. In this thesis, I’m focusing on friction in digital experiences, specifically how the lack of friction defines the designs of interfaces that are easy to use, convenient, accessible, fast and effortless.

This study aims to examine how friction functions in certain political, social, and economic systems, and how that friction affects our lives. We are familiar with friction as the fundamental force of every movement in the physical (material) world, and friction in digital spaces is a similar force that plays an important role in balancing and forming an individual’s perspective of value. Too much friction could be a hindrance, but reducing and eliminating all the friction could be the cause of unwanted problems. Most designers have been pursuing reducing the friction in the user’s experience. While the original intent of automation and frictionless interface was to facilitate the living experience, we have also become heavily dependent/reliant on it to carry on the activities of daily living.

To further investigate this system, the concept affordance comes into the study. Affordance approaches an issue by creating or reshaping an environment around it, rather than tackling the issue itself. Once we can see friction as an affordance, it is arguable that with the optimal amount of friction, we can navigate and establish fairly clear parameters of a given issue.