UxD myths — #3 More choices = greater satisfaction

Myths — those hard-and-fast beliefs which often start as plausible ideas or one-off observations — seem to permeate so many aspects of our lives. Naturally, User Experience Design (UxD) is no different.

In the last article of these series, we’ve discussed our second myth — You don’t need research we’ve walked through the biggest misconception of all.

This time we’ll understand what is important for the user, quantity or quality.

#3 More choices = greater satisfaction

Choice gives people the ability to feel as though they’re in control, even if they can’t process all the information on offer. But too much choice comes at a cost.

Too many options can ultimately lead to frustration and the inability to make logical decisions — or to make any decision at all.

Nowhere is this truer than in the digital world. The more choices a system offers, the harder it can be to understand and interact with its interface. Before actually using a system, people tend to think they will value an abundance of features. But once they start using it, they tend to realise that more straightforward solutions result in greater satisfaction and ease of use.

What’s the key to achieving user satisfaction?

Give users sense of control without overloading them with too many options.
At a higher-level, the list of features should be intentional and well thought through. Be careful when introducing new functionalities. After all, it’s not about quantity but quality.

You should think carefully about the information shown on the system.
Remember that every interface element on the screen will compete for the user’s attention.

The key is deciding what makes the cut and what doesn’t, both in terms of the list of features and at a screen level.

Resist the temptation to provide users with a large number of choices and try solving problems using the simplest solutions possible.

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