Hello, my name is Brian Lewis and today we’re going to talk about website decision fatigue. You may not have heard of that phrase before.
Sometimes we think that the more options that we provide our prospects and our web visitors, then the greater the likelihood that they’ll find something that meets their needs.
4 Factors That Affect Decision Fatigue
Web visitors arrive on your site with a limited amount of mental energy that they’re willing to expend and by offering too many choices, you actually can create what’s called “decision fatigue” and there’s various factors that could be involved with that. I want to talk about just a few of them.
1. Knowledge of Your Products or Services
First one, is the knowledge that your prospects have about your products or your services or about your company or even about your competitive alternatives. Typically, the more knowledge that your visitors are going to have about any of those factors, probably the less patience or the less effort that they’re going to want to put into viewing various pages on your site.
If they’ve already done a lot of the research, if they already have that knowledge, or they’re looking for something specific, decision fatigue will set in quickly. So that’s one of things you want to keep in mind.
2. Risk of Making a Bad Decision
The other factor is the risk of making a bad decision. You know, let’s say for an example, you know I’m looking to buy office supplies. If I make the wrong decision, it’s not going to be a huge factor, so I probably I’m not going to want to spend a lot of time on the site viewing all sorts of different options.
On the other hand, if I’m looking to perhaps move to a different CRM system that could have some far-reaching consequences with my business. In that situation, I am willing to look at a lot of alternatives and less likely to suffer from decision fatigue.
3. The Number of Distractions
Another factor would be the amount of distractions that your visitors are typically facing.The more distractions they’re facing, probably the the less patience and the less effort, they’re also going to want to put in, which is going to lead to a much quicker onset of decision fatigue.
And let’s talk about interest and excitement. You know sometimes what you sell may be exciting to some people though they’re willing to look at lots of options and again then they’re like less likely to suffer decision fatigue versus someone who was looking at researching whatever it is you’re selling unfortunately as a necessary evil in that situation decision fatigue is likely to set in much quicker.
4. The Sense of Urgency
And then, finally the sense of urgency. If it’s something where they need to be making that decision much much more quickly than otherwise. So, in terms of decision fatigue, let’s remember that making a choice requires a certain amount of mental effort on your visitors and along with the obvious examples of should I buy your product or service, there’s a lot of what we call micro decisions.
It could be hundreds of micro decisions that your visitors are going through when they’re on your site. I’ll give you some examples. When a prospect lands on your site, they maybe thinking:
- Can you even solve my problem? Can I trust you?
- How do I navigate the site?
- Where can I find the information I need to help me make my decision?
- Should I click on this button or link?
So, there’s a lot of decisions that your visitors are making more so than just “Should I buy a product from you?” You can be aware of that that decision fatigue can set in much much more quickly based on the number of these little micro decisions that your visitors will be incurring.
How to Reduce Website Decision Fatigue
As a digital marketer, how can we try to mitigate or at least minimize the number of decisions and the decision fatigue that would incur from that?
1. Understand Your Visitors’ Mindset
The first thing is to understand your visitor mindset. In other words, play the role of your visitor, understand & take a look at the site from their perspective and understand what they’re going through.
Empathize with them. That’ll help you realize what you may be putting them through on your website.
2. Create a Logical, Intuitive Navigation
Reduce the decision making involved with the website navigation and the way you can do that is make your navigation logical, intuitive, label it appropriately.
And then, prioritize it, not so much based on what you want your visitors to see, but on how you anticipate your visitors wanted to browse through your navigation.
3. Use Visual Treatments in the Web Design
When it comes to your visual treatments of links and buttons, we tend to see this happen a little too frequently, but sometimes websites don’t use consistent visual treatment of buttons and links, so when you decide on what a button should look like well essentially what you’ve done is you’ve told you the web visitor this is a button.
Try not to vary from that on other pages, so that way your visitors don’t have to wonder, Is this a button again? That just makes that much more decision-making and can lead to website decision fatigue. Same thing with font hierarchy.
4. Use Font Hierarchy in Your Web Content
The font hierarchy is very important because as your web visitors are scanning a page. The font height tells them the relative importance of what they’re going to be reading, whether it’s headline, the sub headline, bullets or even the text of the page. You want it to be consistent with that.
And finally you want to, if you have various options, it’s a lot easier for your visitors to do the comparison when they’re focusing on the differences rather than the similarities. So, really highlight what is different about the various options than what are the same among them all.
Hopefully as you’re crafting your site, you’ll be able to anticipate what your visitors are going to be encountering and be able to minimize website decision fatigue with some of the things that we’ve talked about today.