3 Easy Ways to Spot Friction in your UX

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Wouldn’t it be great if we knew every time our users are having trouble with our website? And if we could make every single one of them fall in love with our company? Well I think we both know the answer to those questions. Your website is much like your company’s personality.

Clashing personalities often diffuse friction and may end up pushing away valuable people. However, understanding your personality can provide a better insight in the choices you make. It will help you achieving your goals by improving and taking the right track. And that’s how the best people will stay by your side. The same principles apply to UX.

User experience has the power to influence trust in your company among customers. To achieve this goal, though, you must spot the hurdles your users are going through whenever they visit your website.

Some specific difficulties might be:

  • Poor navigation
  • Loading time
  • Unable to accomplish an intended task
  • Lack of intuitive perception
  • Cluttered interfaces

You want to keep track of statistics and modify accordingly whenever there is a problem, right? Don’t just look at the surface of your results. Start taking the actual facts into consideration! Start finding these problems by paying attention to 3 simple signals that are indicating friction in your interfaces.

Let me tell you how.

1. Repeated Rapid-Clicks

Repeated Rapid-Clicks indicate frustration coming from the user. If the loading time is too slow or if the program is not responding, rapid-clicks are a way of the user saying, “hey, wake the hell up!”

You should take into consideration every random action coming from your users. The reason is that it’s probably pointing out a problem regarding usability or friction. Actions should be intuitive and navigation should be a natural flow of interfaces in order to get to a specific destination.

Despite the fact that Click Tests help you analyze how users interact with your interface, it only shows you clicks as an indicator of something good. Clicks aren’t always a positive thing. This is one of the reasons why tools that allow you to watch your user and assess his behavior are very valuable for UX optimization.

User Session Recordings are great for evaluating user interaction. They provide results that allow you to measure usability and good design in your website, software interface or application. By filtering sessions where Rapid Clicks occur, you can watch frustrated users interact with your site and see what is troubling them. It will help you dig deeper by spotting unsatisfied behavior in these exact cases.

Spot friction with Rapid Clicks

Rapid Clicks could indicate user's friction with the interface.

As you look at your results, you should take a few things into consideration:

  • Rapid Clicks means that a user was clicking in the same spot rapidly and is frustrated as he gets no results.
  • If the user is doing merely random actions, it is probably not the accurate path to successfully achieving a task.
  • Lastly, but most importantly, After spotting these specific cases of Rapid Clicks, go back to watching User Session Recordings of the frustrated users in order to figure out WHAT is causing it. Fix it and collect insights for future UX decision making!

User Session Recordings

2. Long inactivity between actions

If we are talking about the average length of a visitor’s session in your website, an outcome of longer session might mean that the user is interested and engaged. But, in order to make sure that this result denotes something positive, you must consider if the user is being active during that period of time.

If there are long Average Session Durations and the users are inactive, it might be a sign that the user is thinking. Warning!

While we want user sessions to be long on blogs and other features that have a lot of content, not every feature and page should require the same attention. On some features, a high time-on-page is not a good thing. Why?

As Steve Krug pointed out in his book, users shouldn’t have to think. If they do so, these are most probably unrequired thoughts. They shouldn’t be troubled by the obligation of having to figure out how to accomplish a specific task. Every click should be intuitive.

Take for example the following screenshot. You received an email and the subject line says “8 Things the Most Successful People Do Every Night“. You open it and see the following:

You kind of skim through what it says and automatically click to check out the habits. You got to their blog post without having to see a “Click Here!” button. This is making your content and your web design intuitive.

If you see that the average time rises and there is long inactivity in a visitor’s session, you should take action. Consider modifying your UX because your company’s credibility is at stake.

  • Try avoiding anything unnecessary – from extra buttons or tabs to extra information.
  • Take language into consideration. Think about using terminology your users will understand to help them interact without any difficulties.
  • In addition, be consistent and use the same patterns in your software. Regardless, whenever your customers face something new they will need to figure out how it works and the chances of creating friction will be higher.

3. Drops in conversion rate and leaks in your funnel

Are conversion rates sinking? You need to stop and have a chat with your designers because something is up!

  • Is the design not capturing your visitors?
  • Or maybe the layout is confusing and it’s pushing them away?
  • Are they overwhelmed because the interfaces are too cluttered?

No matter which one it is, you need to fix the problem. Keeping track of conversion rates is essential to monitor of the value and effectiveness in your UX.

Previously, we checked when and where users clicked and if they were active during their sessions. Now, we should also analyze funnels – by tracking your conversion funnel, you can spot leaks and figure out which features are problematic.

More importantly, in order to track conversion rates, it is highly significant to understand where users drop and analyze their journey.

Combine funnel analytics with a user session recording to truly understand why a user didn’t convert. You can find a rogue feature and watch how users interact with it to learn why they bounce. Analyze what is going on behind it because for some reason, people visiting your website are not taking action.

If you run a navigation test, it will help you control your conversion rate. You can understand how users navigate your website and keep control of their check-ups and sign-ups. Give them instructions to complete a certain task. Find out where they dropped out or how long it took them to go from one step to the other.

Drops in conversion rate

Tracking analytics is extremely important in order to get facts on current complications. If the results indicate a high Bounce Rate, it means your users are not finding what they are looking for. Fix it – why are your users visiting one page and then leaving?

Users will judge your company in the first few seconds after entering your site, so make sure you have an appealing homepage with a flawless UX.

Call to Action!

In some cases, you might find yourself unable to entirely eliminate all elements that are causing friction in your UX. Absolute perfection does not exist. Whenever this happens, you can counteract by adding motivation.

Friction factors

Users are willing to tolerate more frictional factors if there is an increase in motivation. Interesting article from UIPatterns.

Gettaxi has a great implementation of this principle.


Conversion rates probably increase after users see that by sharing with their friends they can get free rides and eventually become “King Of The Road”, which means you are getting the top drivers in town.

It is the company’s goal to keep users engaged and active so they motivate them with rewards and a quality service. In general, they make sure the experience is as natural as possible and that you they are giving their users a valuable experience that will keep them engaged throughout the process.

Why should you care about all this?

Analyzing friction will help you understand your company’s website – or like I said in the beginning, your company’s personality – making less room for friction. If people are having a good user experience when they interact with your website, your company’s credibility will increase exponentially.

Analyzing user behavior and paying attention to all these signals should be a constant habit for your business in order to have relevant results and to make intelligent decisions. There is always room for improvement and there are constantly new features coming up in this new world of UX.

While UX wasn’t a priority 15 years ago, it sure is now – and if your company incorporates it in everything you do, it will sure be the one at the top of the game.

Use the importance of UX to your advantage

You can have a great company with killer interfaces and valuable products, but if there is a sign of friction, it means the interaction with your users is not smooth and the experience they are having is not going to make them loyal customers. Don’t lose track of frictional factors and fix them as you keep moving forward and innovating.

There is a thin line between the profitable companies that are already leading the market and the ones that are still up-and-coming but not successful yet – User Experience.

Good UX is what will differentiate your company from every other in your market and what will make it provide excellence in every aspect beyond anything else. More importantly, it will keep your most valuable customers around.

Danni Friedland

Danni is CEO and Co-Founder of Jaco Analytics, a company that aims to change the way companies analyze and understand their users. Danni’s a hacker at heart, whether it's hardware or software - He loves tinkering and making things into a reality. He has a vast experience bootstrapping a project from the grounds up and scaling it to industrial size, both as a programmer and as a team leader.

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