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Is too much choice making us unhappy?

Well, surely not. Surely more options mean more possibilities to find exactly what you’re looking for, right?

We’ve all been there. Endlessly clicking through amazon with what seems to be the same product from 5 different retailers, opened on 5 different tabs, hopelessly comparing the tiniest detail so your perfect match hopefully jumps out at you BUY ME BUY ME, I’M THE ONE YOU WANT!Noooo, I’M THE ONE FOR YOU! I come with BATTERIES! but getting so tired and frustrated to just end up picking the cheapest one, purchasing, then worrying if it was the right decision.

Or perhaps you still have those 10 search results open in your browser right now. No doubt you started your search optimistically, SO MUCH CHOICE, THIS IS GREAT, but the journey you embarked upon quickly turned into something tedious. Who has time to pick out the smallest of details in hope to slim down the endless choices you are now faced with? No wonder you gave up and became distracted by this article (Hi!).

And don’t get me started on the family ‘Netflix and chill’ moments which almost always end with the family in a huff because you’ve taken a whole 40 minutes just to narrow it down to 5 sodding choices!?


It is exhausting. But it is a very real problem, especially for businesses trying to retain their users ie. potential customers on their websites / product pages.


“One of the golden rules in UX (user experience design) is that if you actually limit choices for consumers, the experience vastly improves. Too much decision leads to ‘decision paralysis’, in other words, utter frustration and misery. Keep it simple, stupid.” – Launch Monkeys.

In other words, people are more likely to make a decision (eg. a purchase) when offered only a limited number of choices. They will also be far more satisfied that they’ve made the right decision when doing so as well.

The thin line between “There’s not much choice?!” and “Too many choices, I can’t decide!”?


Well, we still need a variety of choice, of course we do, no one likes an all-you-can-eat buffet with 1 out of 3 dishes you’re only mildly excited about. However, in a world where everybody is competing for their products to reach the top of any search engine at all costs (BECAUSE of the sheer volume of competitors using the same metadata as you) irrelevant search results inevitably get in the way of what suits us best. We need new, innovative ways for searching and filtering within this data heavy environment. Re-evalution needed. Something smarter.


*opens 10 tabs to start the filtering* Why should I do the hard work? I’ve got shit to do! People to see. Lunches to eat (which is a hard enough decision in itself).


“As the number of options increase, the costs, in time and effort, of gathering the information needed to make a good choice also increase, the level of certainty people have about their choice decreases. And the anticipation that they will regret their choice increases.” – Barry Schwartz, author of ‘The Paradox of Choice



“Designers can dramatically affect the experience of the user by paying attention to the tasks common to their product and knowing when to eliminate multiple options in favour of a single, clear action. One of the best examples of this is Apple. Apple has consistently produced products that are minimalist in design, task-focused and consistent”.- Joshua Brewer, 52 weeks of UX.


To conclude…


By being faced with limiting products and services, less of the conflicting ‘call to actions’, and fewer social media buttons to connect through, we find that making a final decision- and a positive action forward- is a lot easier and quicker. This results in a far happier and more satisfying experience.

Something to think about.

*meanwhile, fires up Netflix*



Image sourced (and another interesting post on this topic) from

For more UX advice –


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