The Paradox of Choice / by Cory

theparadoxofchoice.jpgI just watched an excellent lecture at the googleplex by professor Barry Schwartz where he explains his philosophy of "Why more is less" and how offering more selection and choices to customers leads to less choice and satisfaction.

Studies from the past 50 years have shown us that more selection and variety of features equals a better product. However, those studies failed to observe actual behavior in comparing a large selection from a refined selection.

This reinforces my belief that there is usually a difference in what people say and what they actually do...which is why its more important to observe behavior rather than opinion.

A study was performed in a super market in the UK a couple years back. On one day they set up a table and gave a selection of 20 jams for people to sample, each of those people got a $1 off coupon to use on any jam they wanted. The next day they only offered 6 jams, with a $1 off coupon.

While many more people were attracted to and sampled the 20 jam table...1/10 AS MANY PEOPLE BOUGHT JAM!

What does this tell us? More choice = fewer decisions. The more choice available, the more likely people will choose nothing. That's a pretty powerful finding if you ask me. There are several other studies Schwarts references with similar outcomes.

I think that Barry Schwarts has some excellent points...and watching the video just may change the way you think about building products.