When friction in software is not a bad thing

Clive Thompson digs into software that aims to add friction to our lives in his Wired essay We Need Software to Help Us Slow Down, Not Speed Up:

It’s certainly possible to slow our software, and thereby ourselves. But it’ll happen only when we become too unsettled by the speed of our journey.

His post reminds me of some other ideas I’ve read about this in the past. Chris Palmieri in A Practice of Ethics:

But some friction is borne of respect, when we present information about the choices available to users and help them make better decisions. An emailed invoice could remind a customer they were paying for a service they no longer use. A checkbox could assure a user of their current content privacy settings before posting a sensitive photo. Recognition of a past purchase can save a customer the hassle of having to return a book they already have, or confirm that they are re-buying exactly the same shampoo.

And here is Andrew Grimes in Meta-Moments: Thoughtfulness by Design:

Meta-moments can provide us with space to interpret, understand, and add meaning to our experiences. A little friction in our flow is all we need. A roadblock must be overcome. A speed bump must be negotiated. A diversion must be navigated. Each of these cases involves our attention in a thoughtful way. Our level of engagement deepens. We have an experience we can remember.

Not all friction is bad…