How UI & UX Can Prevent Decision Fatigue

Ever had the experience of endlessly scrolling through a streaming site, unable to choose something to watch, and then in frustration watch the same show you always do? If so it’s likely you have Decision Fatigue. Research shows that the longer we spend making a decision the less brain power we have to make it. In UX how can we support users to make quick, easy and satisfying decisions and prevent them from falling into loopholes of indecision?

Keep it simple - Too much choice leads to Decision Paralysis. Instead of offering endless options, be more selective and organized. Customers are much happier and more likely to make a purchase when they are offered a limited number of choices that are well categorised. For example, although Amazon have an enormous number of products, visual cues such as the ‘Amazon’s Choice’ or ‘Best Seller’ badges, along with their extensive categorization and filters, allow users to quickly narrow down the volume of choice dramatically.

All journeys must lead somewhere - Don’t design an endless scroll. Make sure you give users clear end points with call to actions so they don’t end up lost down a rabbit hole. With navigation, make it easy to get back on track if they take a wrong turn. For example a designed 404 page, a well placed back button, or a categorized mega-menu.

Don’t reinvent the wheel - use up to date UI patterns that users are familiar with. For example in ecommerce users expect to see product images on the left, and finalise their product choice on the right before clicking the buy button.

Beat the clock - Not all purchases are flying and can be made quickly. In this case aim to give your user the facts before fatigue sets in. Functions such as favouriting, sharing or downloading can be used to allow them to save their progress and return to it later.

Offer meaningful alternatives - Allow users to easily compare products so they understand the differences, but keep it relevant so they are making a well informed decision.

In summary less is more. A well organized product offering and navigation that easily narrows down choice for users, allows them to make satisfying decisions and keeps the white rabbit at bay.