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Webheads / News / Choice Paralysis in Website Design
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Choice Paralysis in Website Design

Choice paralysis in website design relates to giving your website visitors too many options to choose from – resulting in them feeling ‘paralysed’ in what to do and choose. This exists in many aspects in life, but here we look at examples of how it can happen on a website.

As stated above, choice paralysis in website design can occur when the visitor is presented with too many options at once. Perhaps they have come to your website to learn more about your company and are simply looking for the ‘About Us’ page – but your website header (or hamburger menu) is cluttered full of options like ‘Our Story’, ‘Our Vision’, ‘Our Mission’ etc. While all of these can technically explain more about you and what you do, they actually present the website visitor with a confusing set of options that are ultimately unhelpful in their search. So it is very common in this situation that they in fact don’t select an option and instead leave your website completely (thus impacting your bounce rate).

In a similar vein, it can be viewed as a good thing to offer many different variations to appeal to more potential customers when it comes to product details. Imagine if your eCommerce website was selling a piece of clothing that came in a choice of black or white. Now imagine if the same piece of clothing had options to come in a black, white, red, blue or yellow colour. As you can see, this opens it to be of more interest to more people as there are more options for them to consider that they may like and prefer (thus increasing the conversion potential). However if this became a bloated and elongated list of options (black, white, grey, dark grey, light grey, red, dark red, light red, pink, blue, dark blue, navy, light blue, baby blue etc.) – you can see how this becomes excessive to the point of being simply off-putting to have to choose from and decipher the subtle differences between dark blue and navy for example.

Knowing this, you should always aim for a ‘sweet spot’ when deciding upon how many options to offer. One of the most referenced and quoted studies on this subject is by famed cognitive psychologist George Miller in his paper titled “The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on our Capacity for Processing Information.” As the title suggests, it is argued that the human brain best performs when making choices that have around seven options to choose from (plus or minus two). With this, seven is the essential middle ground to consider when exploring choice paralysis in website design – with five being the minimum amount and nine being the maximum amount of options to display at any one time.

It is facts, figures and experiences like this that are among our arsenal of knowledge that makes custom website designs by Webheads have that extra edge over the competition. In business for well over two decades, our on time and on budget website design makes us a leading London web agency that is sought after by some of the biggest global brands to turbocharge their online presence and drive sales to their business.

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