Users don’t need options, they want choices

Giving users too many customization options isn’t helpful, it’s lazy. You are aren’t empowering them, you’re shifting the burden so you don’t have to make any decisions. Now I’m not suggesting no customization at all, what I’m suggesting is that instead of options, let’s give them choices.

Let’s say you’re hungry and you need to find a place to eat. You ask your buddy “Hey, what are you hungry for?” he replies with the most unhelpful answer ever “I don’t care, anything is fine.” To them, maybe they thought they were being helpful, they are giving you all the options in the world. But to the person picking the place to eat what they would rather have is choices. If they said “I had Chinese last night maybe burgers or pizza” now we’re talking. Instead of unlimited options we now had a smaller set of choices. The decision becomes much easier.

You are probably thinking cool story bro, how does this apply to WordPress. Here’s the point I’m trying to make.

Let’s pretend we’re releasing a button block (but seriously don’t make a button block we have too many already). Instead of giving the user the option to not only pick the button background color, the text color and the border color, let’s give them one color option to choose.

Once they make that one decision we’d make other decisions based on that color. If they selected a blue color, we’d make the background blue but text color and border color would be determined for them based on color theory to maximize the readability and aesthetic quality.

The user still gets to customize their button, it’s blue like they wanted but they don’t have to be a designer to make something that looks good. We’ll handle that for them, that’s the value our block is providing. If I were making this block I’d go one step further and just offer 24 different amazing color options instead of making them pick from the millions of colors in a color picker. At their core people just want something that looks good and I think you can make almost everyone happy with fewer choices than you think.

Blocks exist to make WordPress easier and giving users too many options does the exact opposite. The next time you are working on a block and your brain says, “Let’s just like the user decide everything”, tell your brain to shut-up. While you should let the user decide you should help them by reducing the number of decisions they need to make and ensuring that any decision they make will result is an outcome they love.

Stay connected