Frictionlessness is for Dishwashers

Frictionlessness is for my dishwasher, not for my newsfeed.

Trapping me in an unending scrolling wallpaper of content algorithmically sorted based on my past actions is the perfect way to build a product I spend a lot of time on but that I ultimately end up feeling bad about.

Charlie Gedeon’s latest piece dives deeper in this question. Some excerpts:

Companies need to apply these ideas about friction not just to the interfaces, but also to the algorithms beneath the pixels that users see. [We] could tweak the algorithm to need manual input about what specifically you would like to see so that you have to purposely seek out and discover content you cared about.

It’s easy to hide behind excuses like “people don’t want to read” or “algorithms are too complicated to understand” rather than do the hard work of creating interfaces that promote healthy behaviours and genuine user engagement. Those justifications for the current frictionless interactions are merely opinions of the teams within these companies.