Marco Arment on User Decisions

A comment by Marco Arment at around the 50 minute mark of episode #29 of the Build & Analyze Podcast vindicates something I have suspected for quite a while: Most users are confused by choice and this can lead to lost sales or downloads of your product.

Specifically, he mentions that when he switched from having two versions of his Instapaper iOS app to only one version, overall downloads increased. Of particular note is the fact that this single available version was the paid or “pro” version. By removing the choice between “free” and “pro”, users were more likely to purchase the single available choice, the paid version, which had by then dropped the “pro” suffix and was simply known as “Instapaper”.

I’ve always believed that removing user choice at the point of sale is beneficial to avoid mental roadblocks. By all means offer users the ability to choose once they’re using your product and give them options by way of settings or customisations, but don’t limit your sales by allowing a customer to leave, ponder and maybe never come back to decide.

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