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No more features, baby! Why more features will kill your product.

Author: Benjamin Franz

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Sep 2023

Every product manager knows it: The portfolio analysis can be twisted and turned however they want. Even the seventh SWOT analysis no longer provides any insight: “We need more features on this product”.

No.

For years, we have observed a strong trend when it comes to improving a product: More features.
Unfortunately, most people realize that this is the wrong way to go until it is far too late. Specifically: When deinvestment or even worse insolvency threatens.
We have extinguished many of these “acute fires” in recent years – and learned one thing in the process:

Users don’t want additional features – in most cases, they don’t even want the product. They want a quick and easy solution to their problem. Additional features and one more button, are in most cases the opposite of quick and easy.

“Perfection is not achieved when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to leave out,” said Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – long before user interfaces existed or the first email was written.

Today more relevant than ever.

But how do I figure out what to leave out?

Ask yourself: What is the standard use case? What tasks do the users of my product go through 85% of the time? Which features/buttons are nice-to-have, which are elementary? That’s the first step.

If you are honest with yourself now and realize that you can only answer these questions from your gut or maybe not at all, then more features won’t help you one step further. Rather, the first step must be to understand what the most important people are saying about these questions: your users and clients.

Start talking to users. Ask your users these questions.
Ask to be on-site when they use your solution. Observe.
Even if it hurts every product manager at first: Find out for yourself at which points in the process your product performs poorly.
This is the only thing that will move you forward.

 

This is not a 3DUX approach – but it is a start.

For anyone asking what is more “than just a start”, we recommend reading the case study for our Red Dot Award together with Smiths Detection.
Here we go into how our interdisciplinary team of psychologists, market researchers and designers simplified and accelerated a complex and important task (the Airport Security Check) with 3DUX.

Please:
1. no more additional features than “fire extinguishers”.
2. check every feature for its user experience – your customer satisfaction and sales figures will thank you.

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