Friction and Interfaces

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The analog world is full of friction. It takes a tremendous amount of time and space to get from a place to a goal, or to begin an action or to initialize interactions or collection action. The digital space brings the far nearer, and reduces the amount of analog interface changes required to accomplish something.  Millions of vehicles travel down highways every day. But sometimes a highway needs to be repaired, or a road must be shut down, or construction needs to occur. In these cases, detours must be put into place, machinery must be set up, and processes must begin. In these situations, traffic slows down, and people get angry. The entire process of redirecting traffic, whether permanent or temporary, ranges in length from days to years.

Online, redirecting traffic is a far simpler process. A 301 redirect a stream of traffic to be directed to another website, and this usually can be accomplished in 20 minutes by a site administrator. The detour is compressed and hidden, and in some cases, site visitors don’t even have to know that a site has been redirected.

The difference between redirecting traffic in the digital world versus the physical world is enormous. 1.5 million dollar redirects vs. 20 minutes of computer time. Even though highways compress the space and time it takes to get from one place to another, they are still slow compared to what can be accomplished on the Internet.

In the same way, innovation in a frictionless atmosphere is faster. Words are not tied to the page like in a book. In the analog world, changing text in a book means releasing a new, updated edition. Not so in the digital world! A simple click and the HTML can be altered, allowing updates without a re-instatement of distribution lines and manufacturing processes.

Reproducing technologies online allows others to improve them with us, and this allows producers to improve them faster than objects/organic objects take to improve in real life.

Good design reduces friction.