Have you heard about the paradox of choice? I recently stumbled across this via Simon Sinek (if I recall) – in any case, the paradox of choice basically is that quality of the human psyche that gets paralyzed when there are too many options. You go to Target thinking that you need to buy toothpaste and a few other things. In the toothpaste aisle you get lost reading the sides of many of the hundreds of possible varieties. After a while you leave – possibly without even bothering to buy toothpaste, and likely without doing the half-dozen other things on your list.
In a sea of choices we become overwhelmed.
I build websites. Every day now I have this conversation with my clients – I ask them “what do you really WANT your web visitor to do? What’t the #1 thing?” The answer might be “click the buy button” or “make a donation” or “sign up for our newsletter”. We know what action we want people to take.
The problem is that then the conversation takes a wrong turn. We go down the rabbit hole of what other websites are doing, how this competitor or that business does it. We end up perusing their sites, getting lost in listings, products, page after page of words. Here’s the thing – we believe that choice is desireable – that the more information, the more choices, the more stuff, the better.
When it comes to contemporary web design, I think we’re wrong. We have a single opportunity with most web visitors – to connect, to convince, and to create ACTION. The web is so wide and deep that there’s little reason to focus on being a wide, deep resource – unless that is the ACTION that people are seeking with your brand.
Keep it simple, stupid. KISS is a good mantra to keep in mind when confronted by the powers of choice and complexity. In addition, a simple, action-focused website is fast and easy to build – which is going to save everyone money and time.
Complexity creates inaction. Focus on ACTION. What do you want me to do, right now, today?