Thursday, October 05, 2006

Digital Wellbeing and Deglamorizing Choice

How much choice do we need? ...

"In conversations about sustainability, a huge amount of time is spent considering purchases and consumption. This past weekend at West Coast Green, the "vote with your dollar" mantra wove through nearly every talk. The question is not just about how much we need, but about how we think about what we need at all.

In our consumer experience, there are three things we value tremendously: choice, results and access. Each of these aspects feeds a cycle of spending, unpredictable satisfaction, and eventual disuse. Reducing overconsumption has to go beyond trying to make consumers want less, to giving their desire a new and more appealing target.

CHOICE: We feel a certain sense of power when we get to be selective. We want to be able to scan through hundreds of brands, and select a litany of special functions and features. Or at least we think we do. There are mounting arguments against this idea, suggesting that in fact our daily consumer decisions paralyze us and raise our blood pressure. But physiological effects aside, our purchasing patterns continue to indicate to manufacturers that the more choice a product offers, the more likely we are to buy it. iPod would be a rare example of a product with a singular offering that achieved phenomenal success, but even Apple has begun trying to hook new buyers with multi-functional models.

RESULTS: We have a perpetual tendency to conflate the outcome of an object's utility with the object itself. A classic example recurs on Worldchanging: Sometimes, we need a hole in our wall, so we buy a drill. But we don't need the drill, we need the hole. A system that offered the object on demand when we needed results would provide us with the hole but eliminate having a dusty drill sitting in our toolbox for 20 years."    (Continued via WorldChanging)    [Usability Resources]

Too Many Choices - Usability, User Interface Design

Too Many Choices


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