The future belongs to the friction fixers — innovators and problem solvers that put people first and improve their lives.

There’s lots to fix, so if you’re ready to get to work, this blog’s for you.

New to Friction Fixer? Start here...

Ask Dave #2: Improving communication in schools and other large, complex organizations.

When it comes to Customer and User Experience (CX / UX), I’ve always believed that no experience is more important than the first.

In most cases, that first experience involves communication, content, or marketing. That’s why I love this Ask Dave question I received from a community college administrator:

“How does a large organization create and organize information in a consistent and timely manner for distribution to a broad audience?

“Specifically, as a community college, how do we synchronize communication to new and returning students amongst multiple departments that offer a wide range of programs and services?”

I’ve done a lot of work for schools, colleges, and universities over the years, so I can tell you this friction is very common — and I have plenty of well-informed things to say about it.

Read my definitive guide for schools & complex orgs...

Ask Dave #1: What small businesses can learn from homemade chips and salsa.

I’ve always envisioned Friction Fixer incorporating an occasional “Ask Dave” feature: people asking me questions about customer experience, marketing, design, accessibility, or other related topics that are critical to success in modern business.

Well, I’m thrilled that I’ve received multiple questions, and the first is a perfect topic for my first article of 2021:

“As a small business with modest resources, how do I effectively assess and manage my customers’ needs in order to give them quality customer and user experiences?”

(And yes, the answer really does involve an analogy to homemade chips and salsa.)

Read the answer to Ask Dave #1...

The story of Think Grand, and the importance of building community.

Ten years ago today, I launched something that changed my life, and I’m proud and humbled that it also made a positive impact on others.

It was called Think Grand.

Today’s anniversary seemed like the perfect time to tell the story of Think Grand because, at its heart, it was about building community. And after a year like 2020, we desperately need more community right now.

Learn how you can build community...

The Five Essentials: A framework for better customer and employee experiences and journeys.

In my last article, I shared how and why journeys go wrong.

So how do we make them go right?

Through continual measurement and improvement.

There are a variety of ways to do this, but one of my favorites is what I call The Five Essentials: a flexible framework that can be used to measure and improve just about anything your organization creates.

Specifically, it measures the five, non-negotiable qualities that all good customer, user, and employee experiences and journeys must have:

  1. Findability
  2. Accessibility
  3. Usability
  4. Reliability
  5. Lovability

Explore The Five Essentials...

How and why journeys go wrong.

In my last article, I explained what journeys are and why they’re so critical.

Sadly, despite their importance, we all regularly encounter hellish journeys laden with friction. You know the kinds of journeys I’m talking about because I’ve outlined them previously, and you’ve experienced them for yourself.

How do these problems continue to happen, despite the rise of Customer (CX), User (UX), and Employee (EX) Experience in recent years?

Discover how and why...

Journeys are everything, and they’re everywhere.

Journeys are a big deal to me, and they should be a big deal to you, too.

Why? Because journeys are so fundamental to who we are as humans that they permeate everything we do — including the interactions and relationships between people and organizations like yours.

It doesn’t matter whether yours is a school, university, government, non-profit, or for-profit — literally every interaction between your org and its people is either a journey, or an experience within a larger journey.

As a result, the success or failure of your organization is tied directly to the quality of these journeys and the experiences within.

It’s time for you to take journeys seriously...

What is design? A better definition for today’s world.

In my last article, I tried to clear up a common misconception about design through a helpful analogy to job interviews.

I also promised to share my definition of design — one that will (hopefully) end these misunderstandings once and for all — and this is it:

Design is the constructive process of identifying problems and moving towards solutions.

Learn more about this definition of design...

Design is like a job interview.

I love design, but I hate the fact that so many people seem to misunderstand what it really is.

That said, true to my designer’s mentality, I’m not here to complain.

Instead, I’m here to offer solutions, the first of which is a helpful analogy.

Discover how design is like a job interview...

Want to dramatically improve your digital experiences? Focus on this, above all else.

Here’s a question for you:

Why do you visit websites, use apps, and interact with social media and other digital experiences?

There are only four fundamental reasons:

  1. To connect with others.
  2. To learn something new.
  3. To get something done.
  4. For entertainment and distraction.

Can you see what these things have in common?

They’re all driven by content — consuming it, creating it, or acting on it.

That’s why I believe content is the single most important element — more than visual design, code, or anything else — and it should command the majority of your attention on your own digital experiences.

View a demo that reveals the critical importance of content...

If we’re really serious about advancing accessibility, we must do these four things.

Today is the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). That means today is a day for both celebration and reflection.

We celebrate because there’s no doubt the ADA has led to significant gains for people with disabilities.

However, we must reflect because people with disabilities still experience far too much friction in their lives due to inaccessibility. Clearly, there’s more work to be done.

Specifically, if we want accessibility to achieve the mainstream awareness and adoption it deserves, I believe we must focus on four goals.

Discover the four goals...

Don’t confuse friction with process.

Here’s a thought-provoking question:

If a country has nuclear weapons, should the act of launching those nukes be a low-friction experience, or a high-friction experience?

Your immediate gut reaction is likely “high-friction” because, with so many lives on the line, it’s important to slow things down and get it right (or prevent the launch altogether).

However, I argue the correct answer is “low-friction” because there’s a difference between friction and process.

It’s important you can see the difference. Otherwise, you might be trying to fix the wrong problem, which can lead to disaster.

Explore the difference between friction and process...

Want your business to succeed in today’s world? You must follow these four rules.

I’m a business owner, but I’ll be honest: I’m not happy with the business world as a whole. In fact, I’m livid at the amount of friction some businesses have caused in our society and in the lives of people.

Collectively, we in the business community need to do better because business as usual doesn’t cut it anymore.

It’s time for a new, more human-centered playbook. That’s why I’ve created these four rules of modern business. Consider them your rallying cry.

Learn more about the four rules...

Premiere article: The future belongs to the friction fixers.

I hate friction, and I’m sure you do, too. We all deal with it, every single day.

But here’s the good news:

Friction can be fixed. Pains can be soothed. Problems can be solved. Experiences can be transformed.

As a result, organizations become more successful. Trust is earned. Communities and relationships become stronger. Best of all, peoples’ lives are improved in meaningful and significant ways.

In other words, everybody wins — and that’s what Friction Fixer is all about.

Read the post that started it all...