It's a metric. But certainly not the only metric/perspective.
It all depends on the amount of information and/or possible goals there are, of course. If you only have 10 options, throw them all on the screen. Categorize them, sure, but no need for subpages. 100 items? Probably make 10 categories. 1000 items? Now it gets interesting.
There are (I think) three main things to keep in mind. There might even be a formula somewhere, but I've not heard of it so far. Roughly by order of importance:
- duration/effort per step
- progress per step
- amount of steps
Which together culminate in putting in as little effort to reach the goal.
One very interesting example would be http://tweakers.net/pricewatch:
1 - pick a product category
2 - pick a product type
3~1000 - pick your own 'categories' by filtering for price, specs, brand, etcetera.
The first two are simple and easy, and from there on in it's up to the user to decide if every steps progress is still worth the effort of filtering.
Think of buying a phone. Microsoft and Apple sell roughly the same amount, but it's easier to get to a goal with Apple:
-amount of storage
So on paper, Microsoft wins, right? Less choices.
But let's take a look at the choices, and how much effort each costs:
Color? That's about the same for both brands.
Amount of storage? Microsoft doesn't have this choice, so they save some effort. Apple offers 3 choices for every type of phone. 8/16/32, 16/32/64, 32/64/128.
Series: Apple has two. A cheaper one and a premium one.
Microsoft currently has 5, I think? 500 through 900. 500 being the cheaper lines, 900 the expensive one.
Generation: Both roughly have 1 generation per year.
So, on paper, still Microsoft being the easiest to choose with.
But, and here's the key point, Apple is much more careful (or at least WAS, they're slipping since Jobs died) about clearly separating hardware configurations. An iPhone 4 < 4S < 5 < 5S < 6 < 6s. There's the 5C, but that's got the same chipset and memory options etc as the 5. So this is pretty much a one-dimensional choice, just like storage.
Microsoft is not as neat. Currently you can choose a Snapdragon 210 (lumia 500 series), 808 or 810 (900 series). Previous generations were Snapdragon 200 or 800. One before that had the S4 Plus in both the 500 and 900 series. Is the Snapdragon S4 from the 900 better or worse than the Snapdragon 210?
On top of that, the storage is tied in to the specific model. So instead of first making a simple 5(ish)-option choice for speed and then a simple 3-option one for storage... I have to make one 15-choice option for speeds (if I can find a comprehensive chipset benchmark) which influences my choice for storage.
Or a simple analogy: it's easy to juggle 3 balls, put them down, and juggle 3 other balls. It's damn hard to juggle 6 balls at once.
Sorry this is more of a train of thought than a structured answer, but I hope it helps regardless.