Giving your customers an abundance of choices can hurt your business. We have analysed customer behaviour and psychological studies to give you a better idea of why your website might be underperforming. Learn how human short-term memory and other factors affect business website design.
Nelson Cowan has researched that 4 choices are optimal for the human brain and the threshold usually varies between 3 and 5.
We have considered unnecessary website form fields and asking for too much personal data in the past. But how does it reflect on optimising the business website design?
As people face more and more choices, the priorities change. When deciding between product A and B, your customer will choose the best one. But if they get offered 3 or more choices, the likelihood of them using a strategy that eliminates the worst choices increases.
Not only does it take more time, but also your customers are using less information to decide. The priorities change from choosing the best product to finding the most negative features. It’s clear this approach benefits neither your business nor the customer. In the worst-case scenario, people will abandon the process altogether.
What’s more surprising, this rule works for almost all products and services. Even a complex HubSpot CRM uses a short summary of their product on the home page:
You don’t see the abundance of features their Marketing Hub offers unless you want to “Learn more”:
Even though the abundance of features is arguably one of the main selling points of the CRM, HubSpot acknowledges that displaying it too soon won’t help their case.
That’s why here at Nerd Cow we focus on content-first website builds, which solve these problems before we even start creating wireframes of the design. This way we can avoid both bad design choices and suboptimal business decisions at an early stage.
Do you need a write-up as lengthy as the extensive description of HubSpot features when buying your favourite soda or extending your subscription to a service? You don’t. These are habit-driven decisions and you’ll make them subconsciously.
That’s why it’s crucial to identify what decisions your customers are making. If it’s not a goal-based decision, they don’t need the additional information.
We make more emotional choices than we’re comfortable to admit. Everyone likes to think that they’re in control and their decisions are logical, but most of the time that’s not the case. People make decisions they feel good about – and information isn’t always the catalyst for that.
It’s the case for both B2C and B2B businesses. Companies don’t make transactions, people do. Your website needs to reflect that. If you know the problem your customers have, solve it. Understand how they feel about it and you’ll have a much better chance of turning them into clients. You don’t need to write a book about your product.
It comes down to even the smallest things like naming your subscription plans. One of them might be great for freelancers but it’s not the best choice to name it accordingly. Almost nobody will admit it, but not identifying with the term “freelancer” can lead to a different choice – not necessarily an optimal one.
If the mistakes from this article ring a bell, it’s quite possible your business website isn’t in its optimal state. Whether looking into building a new one or redesigning the existing site, make sure the final product follows the above guidelines.
Originally published Aug 15, 2019 10:51:30 AM, updated October 23 2020.