Decision Fatigue

What is it?

Decision fatigue describes a situation when visitors are given so much choice that it demotivates them to take action. For example, a listings page showing too many products at once is likely to dissuade users from purchasing anything because too much browsing will use up all the attention bandwidth they had available for your site.

Why is important?

Decision fatigue can result in a ‘browsing rather than buying’ attitude that will be detrimental to your conversion rate. For that reason, you need to engage your users into action as soon as possible. The more time they spend roaming around your site without interacting, the more their chances of committing to the buying process are reduced.

How do you avoid it happening?

To avoid decision fatigue, make your UX as seamless and guided as possible; display only a limited amount of products by default, make personalised product recommendations to anticipate your visitors’ needs, display a clear sorting/filtering system on listings pages so users can limit results by themselves… A well-timed offer can also be a positive trigger for action, such as a discount showing after a period of inaction.

What else to consider?

Akin to decision fatigue, funnel fatigue is also something to watch out for. If a lot of your visitors abandon their journey in the sales funnel (particularly once they have passed the Basket Page stage), it likely means that it is likely too long and/or confusing and you should look into funnel optimisation, starting with the pages which have the highest dropout rate.

Other key points

Maintaining an overall consistency of design on your website can also help reduce decision fatigue as users don’t have to purposely look for information; ensure the position/style of the call to action is coherent from one page to another, keep users focused at critical points in the funnel by avoiding distractions, make sure you manage expectations with progress bars, signpost your website clearly… Anything you can do to make the user ponder less and do more is a step towards success.

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