Are more choices always better?
Maybe not. Take the following law of psychology into account if you want to 1) improve site metrics and 2) avoid giving website visitors extra work they never asked for.
Hick’s Law (or the Hick-Hyman Law) is named after a British and an American psychologist team of William Edmund Hick and Ray Hyman. In 1952, this pair set out to examine the relationship between the number of stimuli present and an individual’s reaction time to any given stimulus.
As you’d expect, the greater the number of choices, the longer the reaction time. People bombarded with choices have to take time to interpret and decide – which is essentially giving them work they don’t want (Read: Interaction Design).
Have you ever tried to order from a new restaurant, took one glance at the menu, and were immediately overwhelmed? Maybe you even gave up on the spot and ordered from your favorite place instead. As we all experience countless times a day, in countless ways, simplicity has a subtle power in a world of information overload.
Hick’s Law offers a starting approach for making sure your message resonates with website visitors. For example, when designing a landing page, focus the attention of your audience with a clear and simple design hierarchy. Having an overwhelming amount of information, components, fonts and colors can immediately cause your bounce rate to soar. Selecting the content you want to prioritize in your design is essential.
Here’s an example of how to apply Hick’s Law and design principles to audit your website.
UX is all about designing for humans. Understanding and applying Hick’s Law is one more tool you can pack in your UX toolbox for building a site that gets results – because it gets to the heart of human behavior. NK is here to help.
NK is here to help optimize you site with effective UX design and more.