Having choices is a good thing, right? We highly value the feeling of being in control and it is assumed that choice brings freedom. Studies however show that too many choices lead to decision paralysis and frustration. In sales it is a known fact, that if people are given too much choice, they don’t buy. What does that mean for UX design?
The more choices you give on your website or in your application, the harder it will be for your user to understand the interface and consequently to choose.
Hick’s law states that the number and complexity of choices increases the time it takes to make a decision. As the decision time increases, the user experience suffers. As a general rule, although people prefer an abundance of features prior to the actual use of a system once they start using it, the simpler solution wins. What’s more, they will be more satisfied with their selection if they had fewer choices.
- limit the number of choices in your interface
- Focus on the main features and make those prominent
- Ask yourself if it is worthy to add a certain feature (will it add value for the user)
- Use smart defaults to make numerous choices seem simple for the user
- Remember it is not the number of features that matters
Here are more resources on the paradox of choice:
Barry Schwartz: The paradox of choice (Book)