Do users benefit from an abundance of choice? No, choice is not necessarily a good thing to have. Having too many options is overwhelming, will slow us down, create stress. This is illustrated in the book of Prof. Barry Schwartz “The Paradox of choice” (Schwartz 2004). Prof Barry Schwartz is mainly researching the connection between economics and psychology. A similar problem is also known in the ICT domain as Hick’s law (Soegaard 2016).
“Delivering a good user experience requires that first you find out the functionalities that will answer their needs; second, you need to guide them to the specific functions they need most. If users end up stuck in the decision-making process of “what next?”, they may become confused, frustrated, or leave your website or application. “
Mads Soegaard, interaction design
Having choices is good, too many choices is bad news. Hick’s law states that if we have too many choices, we divide them into groups to reduce the cognitive load (called chunking). This is the way we handle this problem. According to Barry Schwartz, having too many choices introduces anxiety, stress, discomfort and dissatisfaction. These effects should motivate us to take preventative actions.
We must design for the way people behave, not for how we wish them to behave - Donald Norman ×