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High-Tech Decision Making Available With New Breed Of Apps

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- Could you use a little help in the decision-making department? A new breed of apps is designed to do just that.

Decision apps are meant to help with things as simple as what to eat for dinner or as complicated as where to live.

When Angela Frizell was considering whether or not to switch jobs, she skipped her typical written pros and cons list and turned to technology.

She used the Choicemap app to help her weigh the different factors influencing her choice.

"The app definitely helped me walk through my own priorities," said Frizell. "It gave me the vision to be able to sit down and say this is more important to me than this."

From big choices like Frizell's to those little everyday decisions a host of apps are designed to help everyone from the indecisive to those who like to thoroughly think things through.

"There are a ton of options for IOS and Android for these decision making apps. They all start with a template, but then the understanding is that you're going to customize it to the things that are important in your life," said Jessica Dolcourt, CNET Senior Editor.

The Decision Buddy app is meant for group choices on simpler subjects like where to eat dinner.

Others like Decide Now let users spin a wheel to help with a choice.

Social apps like Peep Advice ask others for input.

FYI Decision and Choicemap help individuals consider different criteria specific to the particular issue.

"The apps that weigh pros and cons and then calculate a percentage for you, things like that are going to give you greater value if you're actually leaning on that app more to help you clarify your thoughts and make that final decision," said Dolcourt.

But is counting on an app the best way to make a decision?

Psychologist Reeshad Dalal says apps can be helpful and even encourage users to think more about a problem than they might ever have before.

"You might ask, 'Would you want to make major life decisions using any app?' and I would say probably not, but I would think that some of them can help. I don't think that's all you should do, but I think some of them can help start you off on these major life decisions."

Dalal says the best apps are those that teach you how to structure a decision, but he sees value in social polling apps for smaller decisions that have to do with preference.

And about those apps that rely on chance to help with the smaller choices?

"The benefit of that is it just helps you make a decision.  I don't want to trivialize that. I would say, however, that there are probably better ways of making decisions," said Dalal.

Dalal suggests if you are going to use technology to help you work through a tough choice try using a few different apps, spread out over time to see if your options are stable.

Sometimes working through the decision in different ways can lead to a different decision.

As for Angela, who did decide to switch jobs, she plans to consult her app for any big decision in the future.

"The app definitely helped guide me along the path, but not make the decision for me."



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