3 Ways to Reduce Friction and Drive Sales Growth

Posted on Thursday, 7. March 2019 in category Growth. 3 min read • Written by

Nichola Stott

At Erudite we know from experience that we can distil optimal performance thus:

Reduced Friction + Increased Satisfaction = Optimal Performance.

In my talk at inOrbit I’m going to share what we learned in our research and development time during the course of last year. The focus of that research was satisfaction: how can it be understood in user behaviour and how can we expand our understanding of satisfying features to optimise across our site. As a warm-up I thought I’d share some of the main friction points we encounter time and again in our CRO work, so that when we come to talk about satisfaction at the show in March, there’s nothing stopping us!

1. Test Live Chat on all devices (if you must have it in your checkout)

Chat functionality has its place and can often assist the conversion process. On a well-designed site that is mobile first, we’re open-minded to the use of it in the conversion funnel pages. However we have come across more than one occasion where live chat has interfered with, and in one case prohibited the completion of a sale. In all these cases the chat pop-up was causing friction for mobile device users. In one very memorable example we identified that Android users had not completed a sale since the addition of chat. When we drilled into the data and videos, this was because the chat window completely
obscured the “accept terms and conditions” tick box, which was a critical requirement to complete the final step of purchase. This is the kind of friction that starts a fire.

Learning: If you want to have chat on your checkout you must test it across all devices paying particular attention to mobile UX design. Due to the reduced size and portrait layout, chat pop-ups will often obscure a lot of critical information or required actions.

2. Auto format characters and cases for user entry fields

Is there anything more annoying than having to change your mobile keyboard to numbers from letters, when you have tapped into the credit card number field? There’s a special place in hell for sites that can’t be bothered to do this. Similarly bank account sort codes are two characters [space] two characters [space] two characters. The user shouldn’t have to tap into the entry field for the next couplet, once they have completed the first couplet.

Figure 1: Go Home Sage Pay. You’re Drunk.

Removing friction points like this can really drive positive improvement to conversion.

“We don’t figure out how things work. We muddle through.”
Steve Krug: Don’t Make Me Think

Which brings me to my final point…

3. Don’t design icons or functionality that nobody has seen before.

Much like language, good design evolves and becomes convention, or specifically; best-practice. An example of this is the now standard “hamburger” motif to signify a mobile menu. It’s so important that we design so that there’s no “figuring out” to be done. Take that layer of friction away from the user journey and utilize recognizable, conventional semiotics.

We’ve seen some awful friction points on sites where the call to action was so unclear, that the user had absolutely no idea what to do next. Here’s one genuine example…

I’m not going to tell you what this icon was supposed to signify, but I hope we meet at inOrbit, as I’d love to hear your guesses! Additionally, now that we’ve talked about friction points to get rid of, I’m excited to tell you about ways to increase user satisfaction and then our performance potential will be truly optimised.

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