The Future Has A Lot Less Buttons And Levers: Choices Are Bad

I hope you are noticing this: The more successful solutions out there reduce the number of choices.

I first noticed this a couple of years ago when I bought a special box that attaches to my TV called a NetFlix Roku. What this box does is it connects to my Netflix service over Wi-Fi and streams movies and TV shows to my TV.

Sounds complicated, right? But it's not! The funny thing about this remote is that it has only got nine buttons: It has got a Home button, an Enter button, four arrows (like left, right, up, down), a Play and Pause button, Rewind and Fast-Forward. That's it!

There is no Channel Changing button, there is no Volume button, no Mute button. Not even an On/Off button.

That's Right!

The Roku device remains On for as long as it is plugged in! It is one of my favorite devices to use because I can literally use it within seconds of taking it out of the box.

Here is something else to think about: Video cameras. For a long time I resisted buying video cameras. It is so difficult to decide which one to get. I didn't want to get a video camera that used tape, even digital tape, and I wasn't sure if I should get a camera made by Sony, Kodak or some other manufacturer.

But I did buy the Flip camera years ago. The great thing about the flip is that it really only has one Big Red Button. Much like the Roku remote, it has a couple of extra buttons, such as Pause and Play (that's one button), the Trash button, and buttons to navigate between videos and zoom in and out. But the button usually almost always used is that Big Red Record Button.

You want to record new video? Take it out, hit the Big Red Button - it records. You want to stop? Hit the Big Red Button again.

That is compared to other cameras which are better in quality and have better features, but the problem is they have too many features. For example, with the Kodak Zi8, I almost bought it because it has an external microphone. But everyone I have seen record with it has to navigate through different menus to choose what quality they want to record with, and other settings, before they can record it.

I don't care about that! I want to just hit one button and it records.

Think about the iPhone: again, almost no buttons. It has got a Lock button, volume controls, a Silent button and a Home button. That's it. No buttons for dialing or going through different menus. That is all handled in the touch screen.

If you don't have a touch screen phone, I would recommend you borrow someone's iPhone and try to do a conference call. It is amazing how it can generate new menus and give you new buttons to push when there were none there previously.

Same deal with the iPad, Droid, Kindle and other touch screen devices with almost no buttons. It is super simple and super intuitive to use - and requires almost no documentation.

Think about WordPress: I think what makes WordPress special is that it simplifies everything. You can literally set it up in a few seconds and write your first blog post in a few minutes. The interface for writing new posts and activating plugins is far simpler than any other blogging platform I have ever seen.

And the blogs that are the most accessible are the ones that remove features. They might remove things like the dates, or the ability to leave comments on posts, just to make it easier to get to the information.

Now that I have told you how much I like the Roku, the flip, the iPhone and WordPress, it's your turn!

What Are You Doing To Remove The Buttons?

Do you offer two Order buttons on your sales letter: maybe a way to fully buy your product and another offer as a payment plan?

What would happen if you split tested, only showing one of those buttons? Would it make it easier for people to join your program?

When someone logs into your membership site, is it clear what they should look at first? In other words, are your posts listed in chronological order? And do you have some kind of welcome message or welcome video when someone first joins?

When I read your report, am I going to find clear, step-by-step instructions about what to read first and where to go from there?

And, most importantly, what should I do when I'm done? So tell me, how are you removing multiple choices and multiple calls to action that don't matter?

What are YOU doing to remove the buttons? Comment below.

Filed in: CopywritingMindset
Tagged with:

Comments (14)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Britt Malka says:

    Only showing one button on sales page: Check

    Membership site, welcome mail, and other mails coming through Aweber: Check

    Report: No step-by-step instructions, but I would say it’s not necessary in my reports. Will check up on it.

    Could I do better? Absolutely. I’ll review everything with new remove-button eyes ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I love to find ways to simplify, so thanks for the reminder to check how many buttons and choices I’m offering. Great blog, as always. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Clyde Reid says:

    After reading your posts and learning from yourself and Lance for some time I have managed to remove all choices from my web sites except for the one time payment and 3 payment choice for the membership site. As soon as we finish the rewrite for the sales page I will be looking to split test with one option on each page.

    Thanks again for the good info.

  4. First of all, I agree. Non-button tools, or as few buttons as possible is also what I like about iPods. The same goes with cars and GPS-systems. I love the Garmin because it only has a Power-button and a volume turning button.

    But you’re quite right. I can review all sites from a whole new perspective, so thanks for the inspiration. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Dan Martin says:

    As a former retailer, I know from experience that too many choices confuse the customer and often lead to NO sales as they walk away. At my last store I limited most things to 3 choices: The best, a good inexpensive selection, and something between. Shelf placement determined my selections.

    Translating that to internet marketing I guess offering the middle as the product, the best as an up-sell and the low cost alternative if the others are rejected would be my plan. So far I’ve only offered the initial products. On rewrites I’ll do an up-sell and a counter to rejects.

    Thanks for making me think.

  6. Sherm says:

    Absolutely right-on! I used to have a big fancy video camera, but I never used it because it was complicated. I now use my Flip all the time, and I sold that other camera to pay for the Flip HD!

    I’ve applied this to my sales page and my opt-in page, and I’m sure it has helped sales – but no, I haven’t tested it ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I like the philosophy of “don’t give them a choice…offer an upgrade later.” And “an undecided mind says ‘No.'”

  7. Thomas says:

    I personally thought that only one button was kind of lame and on a camera of any kind, not good. Well that is me as I want more control of the image than the average person does, but I have been taking picture before there was automatic cameras and light meters were very expensive.

    After thinking about this you make a good point, simplicity is on the rise and we need to embrace it. And after setting up my Santa site with WP it was fairly simple (for me that is saying a lot).

    Thanks to you I am cutting back on things that are not easy to do and learning more in the process. Also it enables you to have more control of what you do.

    What am I doing to remove the buttons? Well, for long docs that I have to type, I eliminate the keyboard, and on the web site I like your idea of 2 order buttons on higher priced items, otherwise 1 button will do.

    Squeeze pages only have one button.

  8. William says:

    Wow! Fantastic post Robert!
    How did you ever come up with this one?

    As a matter of fact I hate all the chices that I have with my cell phone. Always have. I like to talk, not chat, not twitter, not shop on the phone unless I am getting comparing prices between stores.

    A phone should be a phone.

    I have always strived to make things less complicated than they seem. Kind of like PhP. Is it hard. It is complicated. More so than html. However with in a week of using your programs I got the hang of it.

    When I write sales messages, I like them to be, well sales messages. I want a powerful headline, a great story, decent enough features that I can turn into awsome benefits and a mega powerful irresitable offer.

    I am kind of old school, but the extra payment plan button is something I would have to test.

    Also I like to write reports around one offer. One simple affiliate url. It maybe in the report five times, only one offer. I learn that from you about email messages.

    use only one url.

  9. Robert ~

    To me, simplicity equates with elegance.

    The more things we can “un-complicate” in life, the better!

    I’ve been thinking about getting a Flip Camera but I’ve hesitated because I thought it might be too difficult for me to operate. You’ve proven otherwise!

    I’m a big advocate and cheerleader for WordPress and the main reason is easibility of use. I figure if I can figure it out, anyone can.


  10. Mike says:

    Yes, Robert, simple is best, and not just on websites.

    When you drive the same car for four decades, you have no car payments. Its big V8 is not buried under masses of tubing and other “stuff” that ruins performance and wastes more gas than it saves. It has no catalytic converter, cruise control, “multifunction switch” ($150
    just for the part), or air conditioning to fail (vent windows work well). Its headlights don’t burn out because it has a DC generator instead of an alternator. It has no computer with all those expensive sensors and just a “check engine” light to hint that something is wrong – it has real analog guages to tell you exactly what is happening. You only need simple tools to fix it, and can do it yourself if you like. Best of all, no resources need to be wasted making a replacement vehicle that won’t be as roomy inside or anywhere near as simple.

    How many people have computer desktops full of icons? I have just a dozen in two little groups tucked into the lower corners of my 24-inch 1920×1200 resolution screen. A classic hierarchical “Start” menu organizes the rest. (I have a lot of interests, so I do have many

    Cell phone? Only for emergencies on the road. No GPS, no camera, no texting, no ring tones, no games. No i-anything. Land line phone is hard-wired and needs no AC connection, so stays on if the power fails.

    TV? None. I can watch “24” one day late on Hulu. News (mostly bad) is everywhere. I read real books instead.

    Food? No junk full of high-fructose corn syrup from genetically modified corn, no deadly aspartame or other sugar substitutes, no trans-fats, no toxic and addictive MSG, etc. Just what actually grew without pesticides, hormones, or antibiotics. Prevention is far simpler and less expensive than the “sick care” our supposed “representatives” are helping to foist on us in flagrant violation of their oaths of office.

    Exercise? Walking and isometrics – no equipment needed, no trips to a gym.

    Result? No disease. Zero need for (mostly nutritionally illiterate) doctors or costly pharmaceuticals (and all their nasty side effects). In my late 60s I can still get up on the roof to clear fallen branches after a wind storm. And if something I need to do really IS
    complex, I can handle that too because the simplicity of everything else leaves my mind free to deal with it.

    Robert, you have the right idea. Your productivity proves it. Time management helps, but simplicity is the dominant factor.


  11. Kevin Riley says:

    Been thinking about getting a Zi8 myself (for the external mic). Thanks to your note about the extra choices it has, I’ll stick with my beloved Flip. Yup, simple rules!


  12. Robert Plank says:

    Hey Crazy Japan Man,

    Have you seen the new SlideHD flip? I have it. I only bought it to get the external mic (turns out it was an external HEADPHONE jack instead).

    It’s touchscreen and it looks like they are moving towards making it MORE complicated. Hopefully they will wise up when the next version comes out… all I want is a MinoHD with external mic… I’ll pay double for it!

  13. Ron Barrett says:

    I side with Clyde…

    Have done the same thing…removed all external links on sales pages except for TOS and disclaimer links, but they open in separate windows so they don’t have to click the back button to get back to the sales page.

    The only external links on download pages are to affiliate offers and I agree that the simpler the better.

    I may have to test affiliate sales from the confirm/download pages compared to what is offered in the followup sequence…hmmmm, good idea.

  14. Kevin Riley says:

    Plank Man

    No, I haven’t. Yup. Gimme a basic Flip with an external mic, and I’ll be one happy camper. I’ll see your double and raise.

Leave a Reply

Back to Top