Your company makes single-serving coffee machines. Your bestseller has two buttons: serving size and start. Then one day your research team tells you customers listen to the radio in the morning as they drink coffee. You decide to release a coffee machine with a radio.
It flops. Research says people are overwhelmed. Your machine now has a slew of switches and knobs to adjust the volume and tune the station. Customers see it in the store and think, “I don’t need all that,” and choose something else.
You tell your designers to make it “simpler.” They change it to three buttons, one being mode. Press it once and the other buttons change the volume. Press it again and they change the station, and so on.
Sales improve, but over time, more units are returned to the store. When people bring the machine home and actually try it, they quickly get frustrated when they fall into the wrong mode. You try bundling better instructions, to no avail. Nobody reads manuals.
It’s impossible to add features without adding complexity. At best you can hide it. You can remove affordances, giving an illusion of simplicity while making things more complex. The only way to make something simple is to make it simple.
So how do you add a radio to a coffee machine? You don’t. It’s a stupid idea.