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  • Writer's pictureJP Favre

Why Fewer Choices Can Lead to Better Decisions ?

Few weeks ago, i wrote an article talking about Hick and Von Restorff.

This week i would like to focus on Hick law. Well the official name is the Hick-Hyman Law, also known as the Hick-Hyman Rule, is a well-known principle in the field of psychology that helps to explain how people make decisions based on the amount of choices they are presented with.

The basic idea is that the more choices a person has to make, the longer it will take for them to make a decision and the more difficult it will be for them to choose.

One way to understand this principle is to think about it in terms of user experience (UX) design. When a designer is creating a dashboard, they want to make sure that the business user can easily navigate through the different pages and options in order to find what they are looking for. However, if the designer presents the user with too many choices or options, it can become overwhelming and confusing, leading to a poor UX.

Going to a restaurant

To use an analogy, imagine that you are at a buffet (Yes, i know i am using lot of analogy with food but guess what, when you spent 20 years of your life working in hospitality, it is easier to connect with what you know the most). So when you are at your buffet trying to decide what to eat. At first, you might be excited by all of the different options available to you. But as you start to scan the different dishes, you might start to feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices. It becomes difficult to make a decision, and you might end up feeling frustrated and unhappy with your meal.

This is similar to how users can feel when they are presented with too many choices on a dashboard. Just like at the buffet, they might start off feeling excited by the options available to them, but as they start to explore, they can become overwhelmed and frustrated. This can lead to a poor UX, with users potentially abandoning the dashboard altogether and going back to excel because it is more easier to use.

This make me think about another article i need to write regarding “recognition is better than recall”, well not the subject for today ;) So, what can designers do to avoid this problem?


One solution is to apply the Hick-Hyman Law to their design process. By understanding the principle that the more choices a person has to make, the longer it will take them to make a decision, designers can carefully consider the number of options they present to the user. By limiting the number of choices, designers can help to create a more streamlined and user-friendly experience.

For example, instead of presenting the user with a long list of filters, a designer might group similar options together, or use filters to help the user narrow down their choices. This can make it easier for the user to find what they are looking for, and can lead to a more satisfying and enjoyable UX.

Sometimes it is difficult for the business user to understand this law because for them, the more choices they have, the better, but i can tell you that from a UX perspective the more options that will have will not really help you.

In my case, i am always referring the Dashboard Model Canvas, I am using this canvas to collect the right requirements when creating a dashboard. In this canvas, there is a part called “value proposition”.

Every time a business user is willing to add a new filter, or chart or anything else in the dahsboard, my first question is : “Does it fits into our value proposition?, our why” if the answer is yes, i keep it, if the answer is no, i just say to my client : “we can keep this for the next dashboard” and guess what.. it works.


In conclusion, the Hick-Hyman Law is an important principle to consider in UX design. By understanding that the more choices a person has to make, the longer it will take them to make a decision, you can create more user-friendly experiences by limiting the number of options you present to the business user. This can lead to happier and more satisfied users, and can ultimately improve the success of your dashboard. This is definitely the role of designer, always keeping in mind our motto “Visual safety first”. This world is full of data and information and our role is to make it “readable and usable”.

Enjoy your week


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