Analysis Paralysis

Analysis paralysis. Wikipedia describes it well: “a situation where the opportunity cost of decision analysis exceeds the benefits that could be gained by enacting some decision, or an informal or non-deterministic situation where the sheer quantity of analysis overwhelms the decision-making process itself, thus preventing a decision.” Another name for this is paralysis of choice.

To prevent analysis paralysis then is simple (or so it seems)—reduce the number of choices. However, some companies instead provide a plethora of options to consumers, believing that amongst those options a user will find at least one of them to be perfect for them. They believe that users want choice, and some users do, but for the majority it’s not the case. For example, although one of those options may be perfect for me, the process of narrowing down all of the options can be daunting and cause… you guessed it… paralysis.

Spaghetti. That’s the topic of this 2004 TED talk by Malcolm Gladwell (author of The Tipping Point and Outliers). He talks about how one spaghetti company, at a time where providing tons of options was the norm, changed there approach and increased revenue.

Side Note: This article was inspired by the recent Smashing Magazine article Easier is Better than Better.


This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 29th, 2011 at 10:37 pm and is filed under Advice, Links. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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