More Features, Slower User Interface

I might be stating the obvious here, but it’s sometimes good to be able to back it up by real research. Via Jakob Nielsen’s “Productivity and Screen Size“:

The distinction between operations and tasks is important in application design because the goal is to optimize the user interface for task performance, rather than sub-optimize it for individual operations. For example, Judy Olson and Erik Nilsen wrote a classic paper comparing two user interfaces for large data tables. One interface offered many more features for table manipulation and each feature decreased task-performance time in specific circumstances. The other design lacked these optimized features and was thus slower to operate under the specific conditions addressed by the first design’s special features.

So, which of these two designs was faster to use? The one with the fewest features. For each operation, the planning time was 2.9 seconds in the stripped-down design and 4.6 seconds in the feature-rich design. With more choices, it takes more time to make a decision on which one to use. The extra 1.7 seconds required to consider the richer feature set consumed more time than users saved by executing faster operations.

This is directly in line with Barry Schwartz’s “the paradox of choice”: Too many options will slow you down or can paralyze you.

More info: Paradox of Choice — Barry Schwartz Video

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One Response to “More Features, Slower User Interface”

  1. Desto fler valmöjligheter, ju mindre får man gjort - Backend Media Says:

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