Behind The Buzzword: Frictionless

Is A Frictionless Mobile Experience A Buzzword Or Buzzworthy?

Steven Lerner

Digital Transformation professionals are often inundated with a barrage of new business buzzwords. Does a particular buzzword refer to meaningful technology, or is it just another example of meaningless terminology? Each week, Enterprise Mobility Exchange publishes Behind The Buzzword, a quick overview of new technology jargon and how professionals view it.

In mobility, there is probably no other buzzword that is as divisive as frictionless. Enterprise Mobility Exchange conducted a recent Twitter poll and asked followers if the word “frictionless” is only a buzzword with no practical implications. Just over half of all respondents (53%) were not sure if frictionless qualified as just a buzzword. The other half of respondents was nearly split about whether or not this word definitely has real meaning behind it.

Before explaining the controversy behind the word, it is important to define it first. Most professionals who see frictionless as a practical word understand that it refers to a hassle-free mobile experience that requires little to no effort from the user. A traditional example refers to an e-commerce app that allows users to quickly order a product or service without repeating any previous steps (such as typing in a credit card) or without any type of obstacle. This frictionless process is what many consumer-facing apps strive to be. Trends such as location-based technologies and mobile payment systems have propelled the rise of frictionless strategies in e-commerce.

See Related: Case Study: Making The Mobile Experience Frictionless

With the emergence of a frictionless experience for customers, enterprises are trying to replicate this one-click strategy for employees. With the exception of email, mobile is becoming a critical way for businesses to communicate with employees. Competing against an employee’s favorite personal apps is not an easy task, which is why organizations want their apps to be accessible and highly-engaging so that employees can stay connected. This often includes a frictionless developer experience and a frictionless app delivery process.

Many mobility professionals see frictionless as just a buzzword. They say that it is simply business jargon, and it is just a fancy way of saying an “easy” mobile experience. In addition, there is a strong argument that technically nothing in mobile is absolutely frictionless, with most mobile apps offering some degree of effort from the end user. There is also a school of thought that suggests that even if frictionless was a practical goal, it might not be ideal because it might diminish a meaningful mobile experience.

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Either way, whether or not you think frictionless is practical, most professionals would probably agree that it is a word that is overused in the enterprise.

Are there any technology buzzwords or phrases that you are tired of hearing? Share them with Editor Steven Lerner by emailing