Hick’s Law

The time it takes to make a decision increases with the number and complexity of choices.

Key Takeaways

Simplify choices for the user by breaking down complex tasks into smaller steps.

Avoid overwhelming users by highlighting recommended options.

Use progressive onboarding to minimize cognitive load for new users.

Origins

Hick’s Law (or the Hick-Hyman Law) is named after a British and an American psychologist team of William Edmund Hick and Ray Hyman. In 1952, this pair set out to examine the relationship between the number of stimuli present and an individual’s reaction time to any given stimulus.

As you would expect, the more stimuli to choose from, the longer it takes the user to make a decision on which one to interact with.

Users bombarded with choices have to take time to interpret and decide, giving them work they don’t want.

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