I've been working with a long document in Microsoft Word, and having the general struggles that go with being a PC owner. I never upgraded to Vista because I heard the horror stories, but still it seems that I spend about 10% of my work time, sometimes more, either struggling to figure out how to do things, to undo things that Word does to me that I don't want, or to wait for the endless boot or shutdown times or upgrades they install that slow the machine. On the other hand, although I was kind of hostile to them before I got one, I keep noticing that -- except when I am typing -- that I do all sorts of things on my iPhone without noticing them, I notice that I don't notice any friction.
I first heard this phrase from IDEO design guru Bill Moggridge who, among many other things, the author of a great book called Designing Interactions. It is one of those phrases that applies to all sorts of things, great customer experiences where good things happen and your feel no friction, organizational practices that are seamless and painless, and even government services that seem designed to reduce the burden on you. I think of the difference between the airport at Singapore -- or even Hong Kong -- versus going through most of Kennedy or the awful Heathrow. I think "not noticing" isn't exactly the same as delight, or perhaps is a special kind of delight you have when something or some experience does not tax your emotional or cognitive energy.
I wonder, what other products, experiences, or practices do you love because you "notice that you don't notice?"