From pasta to paradox of choice

A couple of days back I went out with a friend and we thought about ordering pasta. Being an all time pizza lover, I know just a little about pastas.

Here is the menu that was offered to us

Menu

The wide variety of pasta for someone like me who knew only two categories of pasta, White Sauce — the creamy one and Red Sauce — the spicy one, this was too overwhelming.

All I wanted was the spicy pasta, but the options on the menu took over me, my simple judgement of flavours failed when I read the peri peri fries pasta was dipped in white sauce. Peri Peri is a spicy flavour that is served with creamy pasta.

Credits: unDraw

I was helpless and afraid to make a choice. Obviously, I didn’t want to ruin my perfect Sunday outing by ordering the wrong pasta.

I was just a centimetre close to quitting pasta and going with my all time favourite pizza, when a barista from the cafe judged me by my looks and came to rescue. He asked me about the issue and offered to order on my behalf.

I went with his offer, the pasta he ordered was good, I wasn’t disappointed. Coffee was great, we left but this thought got stuck with me and I started to remember the “Paradox of Choice”, in my faded memory.

Credits: Absurd Design

I could totally relate this psychology with what happened to me in that cafe and I googled the keywords “Paradox of Choice”

First result that came up was a video of Barry Schwartz (link), he has a book under the same title. I watched the video and I was like this is sooo true…

The more choices we get, the lesser those choices feel.

I remembered myself browning the titles on Netflix, then Amazon Prime, then Hotstar and finally settling by scrolling my Instagram feed.

While we all prefer to have options, having too many leads to confusion and confusion leads to stress and that causes depression.

There are a lot of choices we have to make in our lives.

How would a user feel when they land on your product and they are stuck in the paradox of choice to choose from a lot of options that are offered on first interaction? (like I was stuck in that cafe, who just wanted to have a spicy pasta)

Think about this. I will bring you more stories on these lines and How we can simplify such choices for our users.

Meanwhile, I would love to know your take on the choices you had to make and how those choices have created an impact on your lives.

I’m a software engineer by degree, designer by interest and doodler for fun.