Improve decision making in your product
As product designers, we encounter the wonders of the human brain through design. The human brain is incredible and a complex element, which makes humans act, and behaviours unique from one to another. The UX designer has to understand how each human thinks and behave into creating meaningful and applications that bring a delightful experience to the user. In this article, we are going to a common problem associated with e-commerce applications. We will focus on the definition of analysis paralysis, how analysis paralysis works, what happens when the content itself causes analysis paralysis, and how to simplify the decision-making process. My article will mostly focus on e-commerce based applications and human psychology for giving a better explanation for how the designer can tackle the analysis paralysis in their designs.
What is analysis paralysis?
The analysis paralysis refers to a situation in which an individual or a focus group is not able to go forward with a decision because of over analysing of data or over thinking of the problem. The analysis paralysis is a common occurrence in decision making for investment, or in buying items in e-commerce applications.
Why analysis paralysis a problem?
Humans like to make a profit and make proper decisions on the problems they encounter. Due to the analysis paralysis, people will face the inability to perform critical actions that creates lost options and miss chances of making large profits.
How analysis paralysis works
The analysis paralysis could occur in different interactions for a given user in a particular scenario. As humans, we should always consider our choices and the impact it creates in our life. The designers should know the behaviour of a healthy choice and a choice made through analysis paralysis.
The choices which made though sequential thinking or logical thinking are the most common ones. We start narrowing down all the possibilities that we have interacting with the application. We remove all the items which are not logical to us when making decisions.
Working with the analysis paralysis will make a user feel that the user is looking at multiple solutions that they would take to achieve a goal. The users will start feeling overwhelmed with the things or the choices that they have to make.
There’s an overabundance of choice all around the web, from e-commerce stores with thousands of products to content generation machines pushing out new posts every day. While you can’t do anything to stop the flood of information or items going out to your visitors, you can design your interfaces in a way that makes the decision-making process easier to bear. What’s more, you can help them walk away feeling more confident with their choice, too.
How to avoid analysis paralysis
The UX design is all about engaging and allowing users to create meaningful and intuitive interactions. It will allow users to attain a delightful experience on the interaction and a positive memory about the application while achieving the goal.
- Limit the options to help the users to make decisions fast — Hick’s law
The Hicks law helps UX designers to make proper decisions in application design. It helps designers to breakdown complex tasks into smaller steps. It also helps to use progressive onboarding to minimize cognitive load for new users.
Hick’s Law is a simple idea that says that the more choices you present your users with, the longer it will take them to reach a decision. It’s common sense but often neglected in the rush to cram too much functionality into a website or application. As a designer, you will use Hick’s Law to examine how many functions you should offer at any part of your website and how this will affect your users’ overall approach to decision making.
2. Make the choices distinct to the users to reduce overthinking.
The users can get into trouble with the number of choices given even though they are different from one-to-another. It is a common fact that the application users will start overthinking based on what to select or what to do when there are many options given by the application. If given similar options the users will start wondering which one to select over others. It is similar to a scenario where Wikipedia had a search box with two buttons labelled “go” and “search”. “Go” took you straight to a page related to your search query, while “search” took you to a search results page. The designers in Wikipedia has changed this behaviour so it is not visible anymore. The problem with subtle distinctions between choices is it adds complexity to the decision-making process, and that is something you need to avoid if at all possible.
3. Encourage users to make faster decisions.
Another solution that the designers could come up with is to allow focus groups to make faster decisions. Humans tend to make slow and careful decisions when they have no confidence in their choices. However, there are ways of enabling people to make decisions faster, by making those choices feel like “no-brainer” decisions. Price is one way of achieving this. A low enough price will allow an impulse purchase involving little thought. Another way is to offer a fantastic return policy.
Analysis paralysis is one of the most dangerous barriers to conversion, and so we need to work hard to reduce it. As you finish this post, I recommend reviewing your analytics and checking any page with a high exit rate. You may well find that these pages contain a choice users are just not prepared to make. Fixing that choice could make all the difference in conversion.