August 28th, 2006
In 2004, Barry Schwartz, a professor at Swarthmore College, wrote The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less, a book that has quickly become a classic in the fields of economics, psychology, and now design. The premise of his work is simple: the more choices you give someone, the less likely they’ll want to make a choice, and they are less likely to be happy with the choices do they make. Limit the number of choices and you make people happier.
This line of thinking has huge implications on how we make design decisions. Where we traditionally wanted to give our users as many options as possible, Barry’s work on choice overload suggests we should consider doing otherwise: limiting the options and making choices for the users.
Recently, I had a chance to discuss these issues with Barry, in preparation for Barry’s keynote at the upcoming User Interface 11 conference. We recorded the discussion and have added it to the UIE Brain Sparks Audio Library for your listening pleasure.Tweet