The Paradox of Choice

By January 30, 2017Food for thought, UX


I came across a great article yesterday which references the great Barry Schwartz book which basically outlines the paralysis and dissatisfaction one feels when presented with too many choices.

It’s a great read if you haven’t managed to fit it in yet, anyways the article basically talks about Aaron Shapiro, the CEO of the global digital design agency Huge, and the way he has taken the concept from Schwartz and took it further into a scenario he calls “anticipatory design.”

When I was in Barcelona for the AWWWARDS conference, we had a multiple talks about “the internet of things”. About how you could be within a certain radius of home and your heating would come on, your favourite channel would be ready and your coffee brewing.

A lot of this ties in with what Aaron was saying, having your favourite coffee outlet be alerted when your near to do your coffee, right movie played automatically, taxis coming for you based on your regular schedule.

While i do think we are ever closer to “the internet of things”, I worry about the removal of choice and the rebellion it may create, I might want a Mocha instead of a Latte one day – out of the blue. How do we deal with this?

At the end of the day, the more micro decisions (dependant on the person, could be choice of clothes for example) we manage to remove from our lives and allow people to spend time on the decisions which are more important should be the goal.

“The more things we decide over the course of a day,” Shapiro wrote, “the lesser ability we have to make effective decisions.”

Well said.

Link to the article: