When communicating about your services, don’t take your inspiration from a chinese restaurant menu
The ubiquitous Chinese restaurant menu – bewildering millions of patrons every lunch and dinner, every single day.
With so many options, many people faced with such a complex choice architecture resort to choosing whatever they recognise, whatever their companion is having, or a selection based on a price that seems to represent good value (e.g. I like beef, and £9 isn’t bad for a beef chow mein). Not exactly a rational choice strategy.
Consider the menu available at the City of London’s popular Le Relaise de Venise, which can be summarised in one choice:
- Green salad with mustard vinaigrette topped with walnuts and steak frites £19
- Vegetarian option: Green salad with mustard vinaigrette topped with walnuts and frites, and a selection of cheeses £19 .
Simplicity is liberating
In their book entitled “Nudge: Improving decisions about health, wealth and happiness”, the authors Thaler and Sunstein suggest that too many choices not only slow decision-making, but in fact may lead to poor decision-making.
When it comes to more serious matters like helping people choose between medical treatments, the stakes get significantly higher than choosing the wrong noodle bowl for lunch.
If you’re going to offer a multitude of options (or even more than three) in your website design for example, you’d be wise to offer clear channel paths to help prospective customers when making complex choices, like this example of choice architecture we helped design for the London Vision Clinic website.