Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock was a brilliant book. He introduced the term “overchoice” to the world through this book.

Overchoice is a cognitive process in which people have a tough time making a decision when given too many options or choices. Having too many equally decent options can become mentally draining because each option has to be weighed against the alternatives.

In 2000, psychologists Sheena Iyengar and Mark Lepper published a study. On one day, shoppers at a grocery store saw a display table with 24 varieties of gourmet jam. On another day, shoppers saw a similar table, except that only six varieties of the jam were on display.

The large display attracted more interest than the small one. But when the time came to purchase, people who saw the large display were one-tenth as likely to buy as people who saw the small display.

This has led to the current popular posit that more isn’t always better. When developing a software product, be wary of this. Offering your users choices is a good thing, but make sure you’re not offering too much choice.

In software design, the more choices you give the user, the more you reinforce the developer’s defaults. If you have 2 switches, the user might use them. If you have 200, he’ll likely not touch any.

Hick’s law states “The time it takes to make a decision increases with the number and complexity of choices”

TO DO: Follow Hick’s Law for your product’s UX.

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