The Overchoice Problem

Most of my personal theories on how humans operate are connected fundamentally around our capacity to make decisions.

I suppose that there are deterministic world-views that propose that we don’t have any “real” choices, but I find those views pretty un-interesting and un-helpful. What I *do* find helpful — or at least what makes me happy — are people who think about how we make decisions, and how those decision impact progress toward intentional futures.

Ms. Iyengar has been near the top of my list of people who I think are really contributing to the conversation about “choices”.  She has a book and a few video talks, but I keep coming back to this classic TED talk posted above — Making Choices Easier.

If you’re on the fence about whether to spend 16 min on her little talk, here are the takeaways, especially, from a product development viewpoint —

When you are presenting options that will require a person to make a decision:

1) Cut — less is more

2) Concretization — make the consequences of the choice clear and understsandable

3) Categorization — give the decider help on navigating the options

4) Condition for Complexity — complexity is OK but gradually increase it to reduce fatigue

OK, I’ll leave it at that. <g>

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