Design is about choice.
What options do you give people to choose from?
If you give people too many choices, they won’t know what to choose (Barry Schwartz calls this the Paradox of Choice).
If you give people too little choices, they won’t know what to choose.
A great design finds the right balance of choices. It shows you the essential. The rest it hides – either by minimizing, breaking into smaller pieces/steps, or removes them entirely.
Today’s case study is Garmin and their Product Page for Automotive (props to dalematic for pointing this out to me):
By the way – this is just half the automotive product list page – I figured it was enough to get my point across.
As a car owner and someone who needs an onboard map/location device, this page has way to many options. Way too many. While I believe that Garmin makes a good product, I don’t believe that there’s any meaningful different between most these products. I’m willing to put money on it.
Just as Barry Schwartz describes, I have so many choices on this page:
a) I don’t know what to choose from
b) I don’t want to waste time reading through 30 product descriptions
A big part of a company’s job is not just to sell products, but to help people make informed decisions on which product(s) to buy.
Which brings us to the other end of the spectrum – Apple MacBooks.
Apple’s current lineup of laptops comes in 3 different models – the MacBook, the MacBook Air, and the MacBook Pro. For the 3 models, you can choose between 2 to 3 different configurations.
And if their simplified product lineup wasn’t simple enough, they’ve also provided a great comparison page to help you decide.