Decision Fatigue

Decision fatigue is a psychological phenomenon that occurs when people are constantly overwhelmed by decisions. After people make several decisions, their decision-making ability declines.

Why You Should Think About Decision Fatigue

It is important to consider the effects of decision fatigue when designing your website or mobile app because users don't have enough cognitive bandwidth to process all the decisions and options presented by the brands they interact with. When too many choices are presented, consumers become restless and they'll stop trying to make a purchase.

It is always a good practice to limit the number of steps a user needs to take in order to complete a desired action. This reduces the amount of willpower a user needs to complete your desired user flow.

Why Does Decision Fatigue Happen?

Decision fatigue is caused by making too many decisions in a fixed period of time. Users begin a process weighing their choices carefully at first, but eventually the mental energy required to make these choices wears them down and they rely on default settings to save them from having to think.

When people are mentally tired, they find it particularly difficult to make decisions about important tasks and choices. Therefore, it's wise to schedule the most mentally taxing decisions early in the day so that you have the mental energy to make those choices first.

How To Prevent Decision Fatigue

The best way to avoid decision fatigue in your users is to minimize the number of decisions they need to make or to space them out strategically throughout their path.

When designing your website or app, make sure to design your customer path with as few choices as possible and that important decisions are early on – moving the customer down the path towards one conversion goal and one call to action.

In addition to reducing the choices available, marketers can also make default choices for their consumers, for example selecting more expensive add-ons and making them look like a good decision, subtly nudging them towards spending more.

Additionally, making customer journey paths that feel familiar with other daily routines a customer might already have can be helpful to reduce the amount of additional decision making that can lead to poor decisions around conversion.

By doing the decision making for your users, you free up their mental energy and attention to complete their desired objectives of your site, leading to higher conversions.

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