A/B Testing Idea #156 - Facilitate your user's thoughts before asking them to choose

Tactic_Facilitate your user's thoughts before asking them to choose


Whilst offering a default choice is often very effective because it allows people to make a decision in a passive manner - which is often preferred as it requires less mental effort - there are some cases where encouraging people to do the opposite and to "think twice" before making a final decision can work better.

This is called an enhanced active choice and by drawing your customer's attention to the decision they are about to make as they actively do so (ticking a box or clicking on a Call-to-Action button), you are asking them to more actively consider the options before them.

This forces them to make an ACTIVE choice rather than just a passive or ill-considered one, which may well lead to them reconsidering in your favour.

Reminding people of what they will lose if they choose not to opt-in will also trigger their loss aversion and they will think harder about whether they want to take advantage of what it is you're offering (such as the free magazine subscription in the example above). Giving them control whilst also reminding them of what they will gain or lose out on depending on their choice is a powerful motivator.


  • Loss Aversion (Tversky & Kahneman, 1984)
  • Default Effect (Johnson; Hershey; Meszaros & Kunreuther, 1993)

The Research

Loss Aversion

Loss Aversion explains our tendency to strongly prefer avoiding losses over acquiring gains.

Default Effect

The Default Effect explains our tendency to choose a “default option” if one is on offer.

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