I am looking for a saying/quote/phrase that says that people are more likely to use something if it is right there and ready for use than if they need to put in effort to do so.

A simple example would be that if seat belts had to be majorly installed every time they were used, then people would not use them as much as they do now (when they're relatively easy to use).

  • 1
    "the path of least resistance" is in the ballpark, but is not on point enough to post as an answer. You could also say that people won't "go out of their way" to do something. But this isn't exactly what you want. I'll keep thinking.
    – DyingIsFun
    Mar 17, 2016 at 16:15
  • @Silenus Along with your good “path of least resistance,” the notion of “ease-of-use” or even “plug-and-play” might be in the ballpark, too. (as attested to by all the pre-PnP gadgets that never even got fully installed, much less used, because I couldn’t get past the configuration step!)
    – Papa Poule
    Mar 17, 2016 at 22:05

2 Answers 2


The following is used more for “thinking about” something or someone rather than “doing” something (or someone??), but to the extent that “thinking about doing something” is usually required before actually “doing it” (except in your example where using seat belts has become more of a reflex for some), you could perhaps consider:

out of sight, out of mind
saying› said to emphasize that when something or someone cannot be seen, it is easy to forget [to do] it, him, or her

(from ‘Cambridge Dictionaries Online’, with bracketed “[to do]” shamelessly added for the purpose of this answer)


The following phrases and quotes come to mind.

The path of least resistance means "the easiest way to continue" (here). In your context, you might say something like "People always choose the path of least resistance."

To go out of one's way means to inconvenience oneself in order to do something or to "make an extra effort" (here). In the seat belt example, you might say something like "People won't go out of their way for safety."

You might also consider the following quote from Bob Dylan: "People seldom do what they believe in. They do what is convenient." A paraphrase of the last bit, People do what's convenient, seems like an accurate description of the situation you describe.

You might also consider the phrase convenience is key. It's not a famous proverb as far as I know, but if you google it you'll get many hits linking to discussions of product design (for example, here)—in particular, discussions of the principle that convenience is paramount in getting people to use products.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.