Digital Friction

Digital friction refers to the detrimental effects that occur when staff are faced with new or unfamiliar digital technology, or when digital technologies fail to dovetail seamlessly. This term was coined in the early 2000s.
March 01, 2023
2 min

Digital friction is now part of everyday working life 

With organizations making increasing use of digital technologies, the phenomenon of digital friction has been growing in recent years. Based on various studies, it now affects around 35 percent of all users several times a week.  

Common causes of digital friction include non-intuitive user interfaces, inconsistent processes, incompatible platforms and systems, and a lack of instructions on how to operate new hardware or software properly. 

Digital friction has huge consequences 

The consequences of digital friction are wide-ranging. Besides a measurable loss in efficiency, being prevented from continuing to work productively also causes a negative user experience, which in turn makes staff frustrated.  

In the worst-case scenario, digital friction can result in employees refusing to use certain technologies and demanding alternative solutions or looking for workarounds. The latter often goes unnoticed but has serious consequences. After all, not using the software as intended means the envisaged benefits are not realized. Taking preemptive measures to minimize digital friction is therefore a must. 

Digital friction can be reduced

Organizations can reduce digital friction by minimizing the complexity of processes and ensuring workflows are consistent. They can also do so by making digital technologies more user-friendly and removing the barriers to their use as far as possible.  

That’s where increasing the level of user adoption comes in. This level indicates staff’s attitude toward the new technologies and the extent to which they use the new applications on an everyday basis. Besides regular communication and information, systematic skills building is also vital to increase the level of user adoption on a sustainable basis while also successfully minimizing digital friction. This calls for comprehensive upskilling concepts that offer support directly in the digital workplace, ideally using a digital adoption platform such as the tts performance suite


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