Less is (Almost) Definitely More: An Introduction to Hick’s Law for Web Designers

Hick’s Law describes how the number of choices you present to people affects the time it takes them to respond. This has important implications for UX and UI design, driving important metrics like bounce, engagement and average time on page.

Imagine the public excitement when, in 1951, William Edmund Hick (“Hickey” to his friends?!) and Ray (with an “a”) Hyman published research about people’s responses to a bunch of flashing lights. I’m sure no-one could imagine how important this work would be for the information age since, of course, at that time, a bank of flashing lights was pretty much the height of technological sophistication.

More accurately known as the Hick-Hyman law, their research draws the (not really earth-shattering) conclusion that the more options you have to choose from, the longer it takes you to choose — we’re still waiting to see what they thought about the wetness of water.

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