Date posted

10 Nov 2022

Read Time

Related Articles


Is your website navigation a poor multi-tasker?


Design systems explained: Streamlined collaboration and better products


Does your website enable easy decision making?

Decision making is a core component of the consumer journey, from the point of awareness, through consideration, to purchase. At the point of landing on your website, the ease at which a user can make a decision is heavily influenced by their ability to navigate to their desired product. In this blog, we’ll look at the ways in which you can support your customers in making their purchase decisions.

What is decision making?

Making decisions is a demanding task. There are a few terms used to describe how and when users can’t make a decision:

  • Decision fatigue describes when users get overwhelmed and leave the process altogether. This can occur when users are asked to make too many decisions in a row.
  • Analysis paralysis occurs when a user can’t make a decision. This can be when there are too many options available or when users have the wrong tools or information to make their decision.
  • Choice overload describes when users are overwhelmed by options. This occurs when there are too many options; when options are too similar; or when users need to rely too much on their working memory to choose between options.

It is important to support user decision making with the right tools to make the process easy.

Why is it important that you enable easy decision making?

When decision making is easy, you increase the likelihood of users choosing you over competitors. There are two primary decision making techniques.

Compensatory decision making

  • This occurs when users have only a handful of options and time to consider each option.
  • It is a “take-the-best” technique where users trade cons for pros to choose the best option. For example, users do this when they open alternatives in a new browser tab. Comparison tables can help this process, however, by displaying all options with comparable features on a single page and limiting cognitive load.

Non-compensatory decision making

  • This kicks in when users need to compare more items than they can mentally account for or when there is a time constraint.
  • It involves dismissing options that do not meet the user’s non-negotiable requirements. Filters on result pages help this process as they reduce the options to consider, but if relied on too much, this can lead to suboptimal decision making.

Users are likely to use both techniques in tandem, first whittling the list of alternatives down to a manageable amount and then comparing each option in detail before making a final decision.

What are the steps to ensuring your website enables easy decision making?

Helping users to make decisions could be the difference between them choosing your product or service over a competitors. You can do this in the following ways:

  • Reduce the number of products and services displayed.
  • Make sure products and services are distinct from each other and easy to understand.
  • Consider different display techniques (e.g. comparison tables and/or filters) to help users make their decision.
  • Group options in meaningful ways using labels and icons.
  • Prioritise and highlight options to help users recognise the most applicable option.

If you need support in making it easier for users to make decisions on your website, get in touch with our team today to arrange an audit.