Ed’s Cafe is a short walk away from my house and until recently served the best sushi in downtown Chilliwack. I can only assume that I was the only one who thought so because they changed their menu. Now it’s build your own sandwich, no sushi in sight.

The big issue is that there are no ’prebuilt’ options. You stand there looking at 5 breads, 10 meats, 10 toppings, 15 condiments, and 5 cheeses. Sure that’s lots of choice but also totally overwhelming. I ended up ordering a salad, since it was clear what was in it.

Whatever you’re doing, making a menu or pricing a service, remember to give your customer some defined choices not just a huge list of possibilities. Sure it sounds right to give the user anything they could want, but in practice it makes the decision harder. What you really want to do is reduce the friction your client has to encounter to spend money with you. Yes that sounds kinda bad, but really we all need to put food on the table so lets just be honest about it instead of trying to hide it.

The salad was good and I’d go back for it, but they advertise the sandwiches and I’m not coming back just to add a many faceted decision to my list of daily decisions.

2 responses to “Many Choices – Not the Best for the User”

  1. Eric Mann Avatar

    Good lesson to learn for software design, too. Sometimes an abundance of options is a negative, not a value-add. Take a look at the Weaver theme for WordPress, for example (http://wpcandy.com/thinks/the-true-weight-of-theme-options-weaver-ii).

    This is also the reason my family prefers Quiznos to Subway. It might be more expensive, but you can walk in and choose a sandwich rather than having to build your own from an ever-changing list of options. Sometimes users don’t want to think and just want to use your product.

    1. curtismchale Avatar

      Yeah Weaver is a bear. I had a family member want to install it on the MU I have for them and I just said no.

      I still prefer Subway but I have been ordering the same thing for 10 years. If they didn’t have it anymore I’d probably stop going, just another decision I’d have to make.