Best Menu Option Ever: See Fewer Choices

Jared Spool

January 26th, 2011

Online banking is notorious for poorly thought-through interactive experiences. Chase Online is no exception.

Their mortgage screen contains this list of menu options, with one of my most favorite menu options ever.

Chase Online - See Fewer Choices

As asked in the comments, this is the default presentation when you first view the menu. (Some commented it would make more sense if the See more choices option were the default, but alas, ’tis not the case.)

What is the user scenario behind this menu option? “Whoa! I need to think about my mortgage for a second. Let me get rid of these extraneous menu options so I’m not confused.”

In case you’re wondering, here’s what the “fewer choice menu” looks like:

Chase Online - The Fewer Choices

Aahh! That’s much better.

Seriously, I can’t imagine why someone thought this was the right design treatment for a too-many-choices scenario. This should’ve been a red flag to the designers.

Of course, there are places where I could see a See fewer choices function coming in quite handy. This one, for instance:

Toothpaste choices at the supermarket

9 Responses to “Best Menu Option Ever: See Fewer Choices”

  1. Rod Says:

    I tend to disagree in this regard. However the default should have been the three choices with the expansion being the bigger list. Having the top 3-7 items is always a good thing. After that having and expansion for more isn’t bad. Though a search box is the preferred way to go. One thing I wonder about in this case, was the list picked out with any thought at all? Did they pick the top three as being the ones that are most used on the site and then use some sort of “political” posture to pick the various other ones? I am betting that the see Chase Owned properties is their way of trying to “sell” some of their defaulted loans. There has to be a better way to market these?

    It all reminds me of the quick links site on the college site I worked on for 12 years. Library and Human Resources just had to be on there. Even though the site was primarily a marketing site for Students. The leaders of the HR and Library areas had the presidents ear and used that to get their way. Instead of actually using the most visited pages in the site.

    Thanks for this post.
    Rod Bergren

  2. Tim Letscher Says:

    You captured in one simple blog post what plagues our land of 1000 cable channels and 75 toothepastes. Way to keep it simple, Jared.

    http://www.amazon.com/Paradox-Choice-Why-More-Less/dp/0060005688

  3. concetion web sherbrooke Says:

    This is now my favorite option!

  4. Jake Says:

    I had a similar encounter doing an evaluation of a student portal at UC Santa Cruz. With all of the “must-have” menus expanded there were well over 150 links in there, but most students either 1) didn’t know they were there or 2) didn’t want to log in to a collection of links, and instead opted just to Google whatever they were looking for.

    With that in mind, some card sorting and surveys identified what students tended to use the site for the most and we trimmed out nearly 70% of the links as unused, making getting around the portal far easier.

  5. Michel Says:

    Looks like nobody in the company dared to make a decision on the menuitems, or there was a conflict. ‘Let’s leave it up to the user’ ;).

  6. Pierre Says:

    A shorten list of menu items works better for ‘experienced’ users and by ‘experienced’ I mean people that uses the site regularly. For new users the discoverability becomes a problem and limiting the amount of choices upfront also limits the potential of new features. A good search system would help, as well as a better organization, aka remove redundancies, of the web site.

  7. Jeff Harrison Says:

    The design probably started out as a short list with a “see more” link, but the mortgage and insurance people squawked until someone said, “The design is fine. We just need to change the default.”

  8. Mohan Arun - Chennai Says:

    As far as supermarkets are concerned, I want more choices, not less. For online menus, I want resonable number of choices, not too many, and certainly not very few so as to give an impression of ‘has something been left out?’

  9. axplock med google-censur och kriser 2011-01-31 | axbom Says:

    [...] » Best Menu Option Ever: See Fewer Choices Åh, jag skulle kunna jobba enbart med design-misstag hos banker tror jag. Det här exemplet från Chase Online är fantastiskt! [...]

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