Is utilizing themes an effective scheme? Choice overload and categorization effects within an extensive online choice environment

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Computer websites are often environments where users are presented with many choices, potentially leading to “choice overload”. Studies have shown that when the number of choices cannot be reduced, categorization reduces choice overload, but the results are mixed as to whether different types of categorization affect how users experience choice overload. University course catalogs are online environments where there are a large number of potential options to choose from but class choices cannot be removed to create a smaller overall set. However, categorizing the large set of options may help ameliorate the effects of overload. We tested taxonomic (e.g. Computer Science) against thematic categorization (e.g. Choosing a Career) and found that categorization had two effects: taxonomic (vs. thematic) categorizing decreased choice overload, but taxonomic categorization also led to individuals browsing on the site for a shorter duration. This effect was particularly pronounced for those who were familiar with the choice environment. We discuss implications for these findings, as website owners may decide to utilize thematic categories to extend browsing time, but this may be at the cost of making the choice experience more difficult.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-214
Number of pages10
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Volume74
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017

Keywords

  • Categorization
  • Choice overload
  • Choice similarity
  • Information overload
  • Taxonomic
  • Thematic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Psychology(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Is utilizing themes an effective scheme? Choice overload and categorization effects within an extensive online choice environment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this