Slippy UX

Word:  Slippy UX

Definition: When a product is designed for “glance-ability”, delivering a service or helping to solve a problem by purposefully staying in the background or discreetly out of the way.

Reference: Coined by Jake Zukowski, Assistant Creative Director at Frog Design, the term was used to describe the design of a digital automobile screen . The opposite of “sticky ux”, slippy ux is intended to be invisible-enough and non-distracting. As a result, the design does not attract unwanted or unsafe attention.

Thoughts/Questions: As UX designers we are taught to make designs sticky and desirable — how does slippy UX change the way we approach contextual interfaces? Will this change our over-arching thought process and innate goals?

5 thoughts on “Slippy UX

  1. UX is about the entirety of the experience. The way “Slippy UX” is being used here it’s more focused on the usability of the UI. I’ve gone through Jake’s deck and I see his point, a better name might be “Transparent UI” given the focus here and Jake’s deck on interaction with the interface. Although I can see people getting the wrong idea about that name too.

    As to your thoughts/questions, you’ve applied a very narrow view of sticky and desirable. When I’m driving a car a dashboard that that doesn’t require “unwanted or unsafe attention” and is “invisible-enough and non-distracting” is desirable. If I find that in a car that experience will stick with me and will continue be loyal to that manufacturer.

    UX designers should never be taught to make things sticky and desirable, they should be taught to make things appropriate. Appropriate doesn’t mean boring or commonplace. It means make things that solve the right problem and evoke the right emotional response. This comes from understanding the users needs, like distraction-free, easy-to-use UI’s in cars. How about “Appropriate UX”? It covers sticky and slippy at the same time.

    1. Mike, I clearly see your point here and love the idea of “appropriate” ux! But can I raise you one and venture “appropriately sticky” and “appropriately slippy”?

      I think it’s nice to have separate definitions for the two because it helps establish a unique mind-set when approaching these different problems.

  2. Hi Hannah, there’s a clear distinction that needs to be kept between UI and UX. The way Slippy UX is being defined here and the examples it draws from are blurring that line. If we’re talking about the UI then two might make sense, but if we’re talking about UX I personally wouldn’t support that. If something is appropriate, then it will be just the right amount of sticky or slippy.

  3. To put the Slippy UX debate to bed I must admit, I wrote an article with Inspired Mag.

    I found the origins and discussed them in a blog article I wrote here: and

    Now the interesting things I found here were more akin to Mike’s comments (and I credit both of you guys for your arguments) than anything. And that is that slippy UX is just a term if nothing else. It is contextulised in what is “good UX” – what is good for the user in a specific scenario. Jake gave the example of UX in cars, but UX on wearable devices or home automation is also another practice. I’d be interested to know peoples thoughts on ‘slippy UX’ and the use of it online….

Comments are closed.