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Friction vs. Features

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Posted by Stephen Zeoli
Mar 16, 2023 at 10:11 PM


Paul in the recent Curio thread mentioned friction, especially in regard to Noteplan and Agenda. The concept of friction as being a deterent to good and efficient note-taking is certainly valid. I had never really thought about it until I began seeing that term pop up relative to note-taking apps, and then I realized that was a reason so many great apps just didn’t seem to work for me. Every app has some friction. But I think there is a correlation (though not necessarily one to one) between friction and features. The more features an app has, the more likely it is to have a lot of friction. At least that’s my theory. I am wondering if anyone can present a counter example… that is, a feature-rich app that is relatively frictionless.

But what exactly is friction? I guess it is anything that impedes the smooth collection or writing of notes. Having to select a folder, or decide on a tag, or lift fingers from the keyboard to format text or anything like that. But it might be more than that. It might be your relationship to the interface. Is it uninspiring? Or confusing? Do you have to stop and think about what to do next, once you’ve made your note?

I am thinking that Mem might be an example of a relatively frictionless app, and yet, I find it uninspiring. That’s probably just me.

Anyway, I am interested in other recommendations for low-friction note-management apps.