More configurable options/settings can be problematic for usability and technical maintenance because of potential complexity. My view is that in a setting where the user is a super-user who requires many options, more options in itself, if it is made intuitive and clear, is not a problem. If it is designed and organized well it shouldn’t be a problem to have lots of options as long as they are intuitive, independent and it is what the user want.
So when is having many options bad? Here are some of my thoughts on when more options become a problem:
- When options are affected by many other (unknown) options and itself affects yet a bunch of other (unknown) options it becomes a usability issue.
- When those options open up for completely new (unknown) use-cases it will over time create a maintenance hell because no one knows how it is being used, when, where and by whom.
- When those options are of a type that users/customers integrate deeply into their workflows and processes it can become very difficult to change or remove those options. (path dependencies)