Is Having too Many Options Bad?
August 7, 2020
The one thing many of us hate is being given the freedom to choose. Many people prefer having a limited amount of options to choose from, instead of having an option pool of infinite alternatives. In psychology, this process is analyzed under the concept of “overchoice”: the phenomenon of being overwhelmed with having too many equally attractive choices. The reason this phenomenon is so mentally draining is because people are lost among the potential negative outcomes that will come out of making the wrong decision. Imagine you are at a fine dining restaurant and the menu has a myriad of pages of equally delicious looking foods. Some select few know what they are going to eat right away. But, you may also be among the majority that experience significant anxiety while trying to choose a dish to order while the waiter is eyeing you impatiently. Do I want the t-bone steak or the truffle mushroom pasta? Right then, that question may seem like the biggest decision of your life.
The same issue of too many options can lead to negative outcomes in many fields of life. To test this out, a Columbia University study analyzed two candy shops: one with 24 flavors and another with only 6. Interestingly, they observed that many customers stopped to test the flavors at the 24 flavor shop, but only 3% bought any candy. On the other hand, the 6 flavor shop received approximately the same number of customers but around 30% of the customers made a purchase. This means that offering too many choices may be distracting and reduce the sale prospects of your product.
Many psychological studies revolve around the same issue. In fact, many studies are now pointing out that an abundance of options may reduce your happiness. With too many options, people are given the impression that a perfect choice may exist. This increases the responsibility that falls behind the decision making process. “Is A better than B?” may be a better question that “Which one is the best: A, B, C, D…? “ Sometimes it may win us a lot of time and effort to just settle with perhaps choosing the near-perfect choice rather than the perfect one.
This also applies to presentation tools. Many tools offer a myriad of options for fonts, designs, templates, styles and so on, believing that this represents how powerful and comprehensive their tool is. But, given that having too many options give people such anxiety and unnecessary trouble, these companies should ask themselves if they are making the right call. Are they inviting a lot of customers to their candy shop only to test and be dissatisfied? This is why Decktopus has been working to create limited options specifically tiered towards the topic of their users’ presentation. Decktopus prides themselves on this feature because it is one of the primary reasons why their tool has reportedly allowed users to create presentations in much shorter times. Give Decktopus a try at decktopus.com now!