Physical acts of closure make us happier in our choice.

Gu, Botti & Faro (2013) Turning the page: the impact of choice closure on satisfaction.


Background

We all change our minds. Or, more specifically anguish over this option, that option and other possible option we could have made.

Rereading a restaurant’s menu post-order, you’ll undoubtedly find something you want more than the meal you’ve already staked your evening's enjoyment and wallet on. You regret you didn’t order it as yours arrives at the table. You think of how great the other meal would have been.1

This same anguish is felt across all the choices we make... and don’t make.

By closing choices, we can stop this self-doubt and anguish. So increasing people’s satisfaction with their choice 2 and enjoyment in the experiences post-choice3.

The closure effect originated in physical retail environments. The same effects can carry across to digital and service environments. By actively getting people to close a form, interface or menu directly after they have made their choice, you can also close the choice they made.

It’s especially useful when you present a large number of options. Helping to overcome any limiting effects of the Paradox of Choice.

How Might We

  • How might we break down and segment key decisions to increase the Choice Closure Effects?
  • How might we communicate using written feedback, visual design or interaction design that the decision is closed?
  • How might we get someone to physically close an element to close their choice?

Use with HEART

  • Happiness: people have higher levels of satisfaction when their choices are closed. Leaving little room to compare or agonise over their other possible choices. It also increases their enjoyment of the selected decision outcome.
  • Task success: closing people's choices means they are less likely to regret and change their minds later. Leading to increased task completion.
  • Monetisation: closing choices in purchase channels means people are happier and more likely to complete, reducing abandonment.

Keep reading

Read paper: Zeelenberg, M. Anticipated Regret, Expected Feedback, and Behavioral Decision Making

Read paper: Lee, Y. Chen, A. Designing Interfaces to Induce Choice Closure: Why and How

References:

  • 1. Zeelenberg, Marcel (1999), Anticipated Regret, Expected Feedback, and Behavioral Decision Making, Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 12 (2), 93–106.
  • 2. Small, R. V., and Venkatesh, M. (1995). The Impact of Closure on Satisfaction with Group Decision Making.
  • 3. Gu, Y., Botti, S., and Faro, D. (2013). Turning the Page: The Impact of Choice Closure on Satisfaction, Journal of Consumer Research (40:2), pp. 268–283.