Thursday, October 12, 2006
Spotlight Plenary, 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Barry Schwartz

The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less

Barry Schwartz, author of the best-selling book, The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less

In the Spotlight Plenary for UI11, Professor Barry Schwartz will discuss groundbreaking findings from his most recent book, The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less. In his presentation, Barry will describe the tyranny of choice— how consumers are paralyzed by the bewildering array of choices in the marketplace.

Design teams can often assume that more choice means better options and greater satisfaction for their users. However, Barry will discuss why we must reconsider this assumption. Too many choices can cause users to question their decisions before they even make them, set them up for unrealistically high expectations, and make them blame themselves for any failures. In the long run, too many choices can lead to decision-making paralysis for your users.

For example, for every ten choices offered to users in a 401K plan, two percent fewer people decide to participate in the plan. The users who participate are more likely to go with the most conservative investments because of their uncertainty. Barry's conclusion is that the more choices users are presented with, the more likely they are not to act—not to purchase—at all.

With a delivery that is funny, casual and persuasive all at the same time, Barry Schwartz will help you understand the forces affecting your customers and shape the way you offer choices in the market. His research into consumers and choice will have profound implications for your organization.