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Hick’s Law

by Edward Beebe-Tron
4 min read
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Ever heard of the term FOMO? Well, that is exactly what your brain does when you are given a large selection of choices to choose from. Even after narrowing your choices down from a multi-page menu selection, there is still that, “fear of missing out” factor of feeling like you still made the wrong choice.

The greater the complexity or number of choices, the harder it is to make a decision.

Think about the times you visited a restaurant chain where you were handed a menu that contained 3–5 pages full of dishes to choose from. Though they probably had everything grouped according to meal type, dietary restrictions, etc. did you ever have a moment where you thought to yourself, ‘I can’t decide‘. You may have even done some sort of elimination process by choosing the things that sounded the most appetizing at the time, narrowing that list until you only limit yourself to a few options. This is normally where the decision becomes too hard to make and you have to rely on the input from the server or other’s at the table.

Examples

Pretend you don’t know what Amazon is or does. Would you be able to find that information just by looking at their homepage? There is a ton of information ranging from Whole Foods Market, playlists, video recommendations, and a navigation system that spans the entire length of the page. A user has a very difficult time understanding where to go or what to do to find any information about what Amazon is. Is it a search engine? Is it a media site? What products do they actually sell? How do I buy one?

Hick’sLaw

 

Hick’sLaw

Conclusion

Simplify, simplify, simplify! This is a phrase you will probably see me repeat over and over again.

  • Cut down on the amount of information you provide a user on each page.
  • Reduce the number of products you are showing at a given time.
  • Minimize the amount of text a user has to read. (Users don’t read, they scan.)
  • Try to only have 1 call-to-action per section.
Hick’sLaw
post authorEdward Beebe-Tron

Edward Beebe-Tron,

Edward Beebe-Tron is a researcher, designer, and writer. Edward’s non-traditional background merges over 7 years of research experience for Fortune 500, nonprofit, healthcare, and Saas companies. Additionally, Edward previously established a nonprofit research organization studying the intersectionality of food waste and food insecurity throughout the city of Chicago. Edward is a food nerd and loves spending their free time researching food topics like the history of the hamburger, or scientific reasoning for having pineapple on pizza.

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