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  • Writer's pictureTingbin Tang

Too many choices can be bad experience

Too many choices can be a pain. It is always challenge to design a product for mass market, for different customers may have different needs, hence some business tend to offer as many choices as possible, and called that "customization". Leave the freedom of choices to the customers, but, is that really a good idea?

In my opinion, has many options is not a bad thing, but we should NOT bring up all of them and present to the consumers and let them to make a decision. After all, consumers only need one among all the options, the right one that just fit for their needs. So why do not we learn users' behavior and understand user needs, and only present them with the Right one? And that is how I had done the design for Gopackup flight booking site. (#choices, #options)

1. One screen size, no scroll

People may get lost when keep scrolling down. Some UX guidelines says better to keep within 3 screen size; some designs provide users with an anchor which allow users to go back to the header. I rather make it extremely simple, which is, one screen. One screen and always full screen, make it the simplest.

2. One result, no lists

Almost all the flight booking site you can think of, most of them are trying to provide users with as many as possible choices by listing down all the available flights. So does google search and many other sites.

However, people normally will look at the first one from the list, which is, the cheapest one. Then they will look down for the next one or two, because they may also like to compare other criteria. Which means, they are looking for the lowest quote within their criteria.

Think about what is happening in people's real life. People are looking for the only one result, which is the "right" one. The one that fits exactly as what they are looking for.

Just imaging, when a customer calls a travel agent, he/she will only provides one recommended flight to the customer after getting to know well about the requirements. The reason human agent still cannot be replaced, is because human agent is more intelligent and be able to understand well about customers' needs.

This is how I designed Gopackup flight, I want to make this site as intelligent as human, by learning customers' behavior, provide them with the lowest ONE quotation within their criteria.

3. Learn customer's needs, be intelligent

As I mentioned, if we want to offer only one search result, then it should be the right one. Hence, we are using machine learning, and study users' behavior, analysis their taste, their income level, their preferences, then the system will remember that person's searching criteria and will provide only ONE lowest quote within his/her criteria. Of course he/she can always adjust the searching criteria by play with the filters and get the ONE lowest quote within that criteria. And the more this customer is playing with the filters, the more this system will know him/her.

4. Use metaphor to indicate/deliver a message

Since we want the system be intelligent, and be able to understand the users; it should also be easy to be known and understood by the users. I applied metaphor in many details to deliver the messages to the users.

This is a booking site, so this site has been designed like a "book". This was designed when Skeuomorphism style was still popular, flat design has not become main stream yet.

This is a flight related site, so the login/sign up page had been designed like a plane ticket. So does the icons and some other details.

5. Create a small tension to urge users make purchase decision

A count down clock is designed to give users a little tension that this price is a limited time offer, better make purchase now.

6. Provide visualized comparison to help users make purchase decision

Many users like to go to different sites to compare and find the lowest quote, now we give them this feature, that the lowest quote at the same criteria from other sites are listed on the side as well, so the customer can immediately realize that what we are offering is the best deal. By doing so, we are help customers to make purchase decision quickly.

"Too many choices exhaust us, make us unhappy and lead us to sometimes abscond from making a decision all together. " Researcher Barry Schwartz calls this “choice overload.”

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