Capstone: Slow Shopper
The capstone project of Desirable Friction is specifically about friction in the online shopping experience. Frictionless purchasing, digital communication, and information through infinite feeds influence us to privilege impulse over the intention. Humans act as the blinded horse, oblivious to the dangers that surround us, or to the structures that make what we do possible, and because we cannot see these things, we run faster, pursue more efficiency and convenience.  

Slow Shopper Chrome extension is a friction filter for online shopping that provides a good amount of friction in the online purchasing process for users. Users can customize the payment holding time depending on their budget and the list of online stores that they want to apply this filter to the frictionless process. By having moments of pause to think about one’s behavior more critically, users can prevent themselves from becoming blinded shoppers. To boost the users’ motivation to use the extension, Slow Shopper offers a rewarding system. The user can unlock different kinds of badges based on their behavior such as decreasing spending, under budget, and so on.

Slow Shopper requires the user to click the payment icon multiple times at the final stage. The efforts that the user usually makes for online payment are too easy and undemanding compared to the amount of money that they spend. In order to create a slower experience for more cognitive effort, Slow Shopper adds this feature to complete the task.

Slow Shopper shows that more friction leads to thinking about the budget then when it is less. Without friction, online consumers tend to just buy things, not knowing what it costs, however, with friction, they start to think about more aspects of their behavior through the journey.

Evaluation and Conclusions

After exploring friction from different perspectives including political, social, and technological views in relation to the understanding of the environment and personal growth, bringing friction back in our digital experience is needed in order not to lose social values and human abilities. 

My capstone showed how friction, set by the user depending on their spending scale, affects consumption habits. Although Slow Shopper is not a budget planning financial app to help users save money, budgeting can actually be an outcome of Slow Shopper. It functions as a self-reflective tool that allows the user to build their own budgeting habit and restrain themselves. The added friction does not prevent the user from spending money but rather induces behavior change. Making the user pause and fill in a reflection question or requiring them to click multiple times to proceed payment may seem like a hindrance or annoyance but it is also the learning process and the way we balance our lives the same as physical friction force that enables us to walk and stay still. I find an opportunity for growth through friction in Slow Shopper.

Slow Shopper started as a Chrome extension with simple functions but I believe that it has the potential to grow further. The main purpose of Slow Shopper now is to put more friction on the online shopping user journey to help impulse control. However, it can become a comprehensive budgeting consultant app and website that transforms users from a slow shopper to the smart shopper.

Further Direction
The results of this study suggest the necessity of friction in society. This thesis acknowledges that standardizing the right amount of friction in every issue, system, or service is difficult but being aware of this concept of friction will help designers to design user experiences that empower people. The opportunities for further research are abundant if designers approach the concept of friction as a starting point to problem-solving and look for answers in them, rather than seeing it as an obstacle to eliminate in the process.
Applying this concept to behavioral design beyond digital experience is where I want to keep researching in regards to my thesis. How friction can shape or be used to influence human behavior and behavioral decisions? In policymaking, design, social psychology, and lawmaking can possibly employ the idea of desirable friction in their future regulations or guidelines or even the existing ones. Well-integrated friction into the system can balance and form a human perspective on value, and further, it has potential implications as a moral standard.

How can designers design services to empower people instead of making them blinded racing horses? Friction is about desire, navigation, and a barrier for entry to good or bad depending on how we classify it. Friction is a contemporarily relevant feature that we should take into consideration and dwell on. By embracing friction in our experiences, we can reimagine the future.