Don’t listen to what people say

I am finally getting around to reading Barry Schwartz‘s much recommended The paradox of choice.

The booked is filled with great stories to support his tenet that “the culture of abundance robs us of satisfaction”.

I was particularly struck by a paragraph around the problems we have around deciding and choosing:

So it seems that neither our predictions about how we will feel after an experience nor our memories of how we did feel during the experience are very accurate reflections of how we actually do feel while the experience is occuring. And yet it is memories of the past and expectations for the future that govern our choices.

(his italics)

The quote has strong echoes of Neilsen’s first rule of usability:

To design an easy-to-use interface, pay attention to what users do, not what they say. Self-reported claims are unreliable, as are user speculations about future behavior.

Schwartz is preaching to the converted with me, but it is great to have more anecdotes to tell to support your beliefs.

If you don’t own a copy, go order yourself one!

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3 responses to “Don’t listen to what people say

  1. I read the Paradox of Choice when it came out. A great read but it doesn’t really have a great conclusion IMO.

    Great post BTW. It reminds of something that Kathy Sierra wrote about four years ago.

  2. simplerisbetter

    As always I have my finger firmly on the pulse!

  3. I read the Paradox of Choice when I started at LeftClick last year – it was one of the books in the “LeftClick library”.

    I really enjoyed it, but I don’t remember Barry talking about peoples perceptions of experiences – now I want to read it again, but coincidentally I left out our copy of this to a client to read on Monday :-/

    @Alister… I really miss reading creating passionate users, but I love dipping into it now and again for some Kathy inspired thoughts 🙂

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