Barry Schwartz's The Paradox of Choice - Why More Is Less Speech at Google

May 9th

I have yet to read the book, but Barry Schwartz recently gave a speech at Google covering the topics covered in his recent book. He also has another similar speech on ITConversations. [link via Buy Google]

A few of the thesis points were:

  • many people feel better with limited choice

    • too many choices leads to indecision

    • when there are more choices we expect a greater experience when we finally make one
    • we typically do not make the best choices when given too many options
    • when we should enjoy experiences we are often focused (or misfocused) on other decisions
  • if people get agents to make choices for them they typically feel better just by not being forced to make the choice (even if the agent is fairly clueless, but just care and actually want to help look out for their best interests)
  • if we limit choices and make the default paths the option that is most desirable or most helpful we can improve general good activity because people often chose the default just to avoid making more choices

With your website you might have more influence and increase your income by featuring the most desirable choice and limiting the total number of choices available. This is especially true when you consider all the social marketing bonuses and decreased competition that exist in niche markets.

Published: May 9, 2006

Comments

May 9, 2006 - 11:20am

"if we limit choices and make the default paths the option that is most desirable or most helpful we can improve general good activity because people often chose the default just to avoid making more choices"

Combine that knowledge with Seth Godin's article on Landing Pages and you have a powerful mix.

May 9, 2006 - 3:01pm

Just bought Mr. Schwartz's book recently after I heard him speak. The ideas in there are pretty amazing IMO. I would highly recommend it.

May 10, 2006 - 3:54pm

Good post. It is so tempting to try and "trap" the user by offering them so many choices in the hopes of them finding one to their liking. Putting fewer options on the page goes against the grain, but it works.

In my experience with affiliate marketing, limiting the merchants that I promote on any given page has definately increased conversion. Some of my best conversions come from sites or pages with only one choice.

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