The risk of the Bixby button

The new Samsung phone has a hardware button on it that goes straight to their digital assistant.

The good news is that adding a hotline/dedicated button/clear signpost is a dramatic and effective way to influence customer behavior. “Pull rope to stop train” is much more efficient than navigating three pages of menus. It also communicates your point of view and confidence to the user.

The problem is that Bixby buttons are also stepping stones on the way to cruft. Once you create a dedicated sign or button or resource, it’s very difficult to uncreate it. The few who count on it will scream if you try to take it away. The elegance and efficiency of the tool you built will forever be hampered by the fact that you have to support a Bixby button.

Your microwave has 26 buttons on it now. Each one seemed like a good idea at the time.

Once you put up a stoplight at the intersection, or build a new exit, your highway ceases to be what it used to be. Forever.