The Paradox of Choice And Product Design/Creation Process

Everything you do – you have a choice. Even if you don’t have a choice – there is always the opportunity cost of NOT doing something else you might have been better at. Should you marry your girlfriend from another state or someone your parents wish (who might turn out to be hotter)? Should you leave that job at Yahoo / Microsoft and start something of your own? Of course “its complicated”. People usually relate the lack of choices to a communist – 1984 type scenario. But is that the case always? Are more choices always better than no choices?

While designing products, individual mindsets, groupthink etc are very often ignored in design and product creation. Watch this video to really understand what paradox of choice means:

Sameer Shisodia from Pluggd.in team (and cofounder of Linger/KindHost) adds:

1. See “Occupy” all around you. See the Story of Stuff. Look at AirBnB (and of course, Kindhost), TaskRabbit, ride share programs and other collaborative consumption. Consumer attitudes may be changing. Consumption driven attitudes, marketing, production etc right now. This may not always be the case, and there’s evidence to point to possible opportunity in alternative models.

2. Aspirational demands – as the video says – are a major marketing tool. For too long stuff has been sold on the basis of feelings of inadequacy and insufficiency. Might that change? Should we start looking at genuine need – and genuine use cases more than those created by aspirational gaps? Are startups already better suited to solve real pain points rather than market driven, created ones – those need big $$ to sell. Are bookshares more than future than FK ? What else is possible?

3. Be a friend of the user. Empathy will do muchhhh more than hard-sell. Help user derive more post buy satisfaction and reduce buyers remorse. Use social to improve self image and collective endorsement of a decision – choices are more about conformity!

4. Take away the need to be different in everything. Its ok to be average in stuff you’re not interested in – no pressure. But the one thing user *is* interested in – makes him/her part of your TG/adopter etc – and engage way more deeply.
What do you think?

[Contributed by Pratyush Prasanna and Sameer Shisodia.]