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Some friction is good for you

the hunt for 'frictionless' interactions and interfaces misses an important fact: some friction is essential to making things that matter.

Seamus Byrne
Seamus Byrne
3 min read
Some friction is good for you

Too much friction is a hassle.

Too much friction slows us down.

Too much friction means we give up.

Too much friction gives you carpet burn.

Too much friction is bad for fuel economy.

From here we often leap to the idea that we need to remove all friction – from software, from processes, from our lives. Make it as close to zero as possible. But outside of the scientific pursuit of avoiding entropy in physics and engineering, I think we need to remember that some friction, the right amount of friction, is deeply important.

Some friction is the fundamental of becoming engaged in an idea.

Some friction makes effort feel rewarded.

Some friction is why vehicles work.

Some friction makes you stop and take notice.

Some friction means we feel sensation when we touch.

Some friction helps us to change our minds.

Some friction makes climbing, a mountain or a cliff, possible.

Some friction makes the climb worth it.

Dealing with friction is a search for the sweet spot. Not enough to become annoying or obstructive. Not too little that the world just slips past without a truly conscious thought. Just enough to keep us feeling like we’re progressing and motivated and challenged in all the right ways. Fight the bad friction, but embrace the good stuff.

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Seamus Byrne Twitter

Founder and Head of Content at Byteside.

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