Optimizing for Simplicity
Think about your commute to work. If you’re in the majority, chances are it’s a hectic, stress-filled time of day. Maybe you have to drive, take a bus or train, taxi, walk great distances, or any combination of the above. Perhaps it takes 30 minutes, an hour, two hours, or even more time just to get to work and back every day. Most would probably rate their commute as one of the worst experiences of their daily routine.
Are commutes made better by being provided with more options? Some would choose to drive vs to take the bus and vice-versa if those are options are available.
Are commutes made better by additional features? Again, if there’s free wifi on the train or bus, perhaps some may choose one of these modes because of an available feature.
However, everything else being equal, if someone had to choose between a short (under 5 minute) walk to work, or endure a long commute, with all the options to choose from and modern features included, there is no doubt they would choose the short walk.
Why? Because it’s the experience that requires the least amount of effort, and perhaps is even a bit pleasurable.
In his book, The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty, Product & Research Officer Matt Dixon found that customers were 94% more likely to repurchase a product or service that yielded a low-effort experience in comparison to experiences that were based on additional options, features, or “customer delight.” Furthermore, he found that 88% of customers increased spending as a result of a low-effort experience.
Back to the transportation example – why did Uber succeed in completely disrupting the taxi market? It wasn’t because they allowed you to choose the type of car, the interior features, or color. It was because they made getting a taxi easier than it had ever been before.
As we build, we need to continually be asking ourselves, “Does this option, feature, process, or transaction reduce effort for customers?” In the end, if the answer is no, then we should rethink the solution.
It’s not the option-filled experience.
It’s not the feature-packed experience.
It’s an effortless experience.