More is not always better. It’s an interesting design philosophy and one that I’ve found a lot of people to have trouble grasping. We’re taught that having more, more, more is always good because we want quantity of options available. We’re never actually told we should also look for quality of choices. I recently read an article talking about the dichotomy between the two. Yes, you can have a situation where the options are limited to two or three, but each one matters. In contrast, you can have hundreds of choices, and they don’t mean a thing.
The piece tried to argue that maybe, just maybe, we should consider the quality more than the quantity. It doesn’t matter if you have a dozen books to choose from if they’re all so poorly written it physically hurts to get through even a page. Think about it for a moment. If you’re looking at a website like www.sewcovered.com.au, you want a lot of options. You want colour swatches and fabrics, patterns and materials. You’re looking for something that is the right fit for your home, and that’s very personal. It’s personal enough that having generic options isn’t ever going to cut it. You want to tweak something just right.
However, that hinges on the options available being sufficiently different. Would the choices matter if you’re choosing from a hundred different shades of blue? That would be a terrible setup. The website I linked above doesn’t subject you to that, but instead, gives you both quality and quantity of options.
Think about other things, too. When you look at a restaurant menu, you see many options. How many of them matter to you personally, though? Maybe you prefer the fried chicken. Perhaps you’d rather have that delectable seafood dish. You might be a fan of the more exotic offerings, with influences from cuisines from around the world. Everyone has a small list of favourites on any given menu, and those are the choices that matter to them. Now, imagine if someone takes away your favourites. They tell you those aren’t on the menu anymore. If you take those core dishes away, you might try something else. You might feel adventurous occasionally and try something new, but how often does that happen? You are just as likely to walk away from the restaurant entirely because the quality of the choices is gone for you.
As I look around, it seems more options is always the default. We’re bombarded with hundreds of new gadgets, new games, new shows, and everything else. If you scratch beneath he surface, how many of them stand out? Is it all just a song and dance with different numbers attached? Of course, I admit I may be representing things poorly. Sometimes, quality and quantity come together. I just don’t think it happens often enough. Though I must admit, having multiple options, no matter the quality, is better than having no choices at all. Deep down, no matter how good the only “choice” is, it’s always better to have an alternative.