Shiren Vijiasingam is a product leader who is dedicated to creating solutions that connect with users on a human level. We all experience varying degrees of friction when using products that affect our user experience. As Shiren outlines, it’s important to not only understand and mitigate friction in product design but also to understand how users are affected on a human level.

Product Management: Friction

In the end, mitigating friction and understanding pain points for customers will add a human touch to your product. As product management teams, our goal is to create user experiences with minimal friction. Said differently, we do our best to remove discomfort or interruption in service when people use our products. With this, I will cover different types of friction that can affect your customer’s user experience.

Let’s start with micro-friction. This is a delay in the outcome that you are expecting from a specific service. This occurs with many of the apps that we use every day. For example, I’m sure you have used Uber or Lyft and the driver is waiting for you at a different location than you requested.

Another example of micro-friction is when a bank locks down your account after losing your debit card. While it’s essential to secure your account, it’s virtually impossible to get money when this happens. For example, if your card is lost at 5 pm, you can’t get into a bank to withdraw money. The intent for these security measures is helpful, but there’s still friction because you can’t get money for a period of time.

During my time at Weight Watchers, our product management team was faced with a common customer issue involved online and in-person services. For example, we had app-based content online and in-person meetings that people could attend. Many people would buy the online product thinking they had reserved a spot at an in-person meeting.

As a result, customers would arrive at a class and had to call customer service to make a new reservation. This created an uncomfortable situation for our customers, especially because they’re already taking a big step in trying to improve their lives.

In the end, we need to apply a human approach to understand pain points. In doing so, we can create solutions that resonate with customers. 


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About the Speaker
Shiren Vijiasingam
General Assembly Chief Product Officer
Shiren Vijiasingam has spent the last two decades building product experiences that use technology to amplify the human impact. As Chief Product Officer General Assembly, he leads the product, design, learning, and engineering teams in blending live instruction with personalized, augmented digital learning. Before GA, as SVP of product at Weight Watchers, he led a major digital transformation to engage and motivate a global community of members toward lasting behavior change.

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