A Thousand Features Would Be Ugly

People tend to add more. They think more means more: More innovative, faster than competitors. I’m gonna add one ‘more’ : more complex.

I know one company, who has more than 20 features in their app, and based on the analytics, only 5 features are actually being used by users. So why did they spend resources on adding 15+ more features, which are not being used?

Instead of adding more, you should think of bringing the current features to a new direction. It’s easier said than done. The situation is that most of the time, UX designer is not the one who decides what features should be added. So how do you tell people that adding more features is bad? Well, you shouldn’t. You have to make them think by themselves, that adding features is not always right, or even bad.

So how would you do that? First, show them this strip from Dilbert:

Dilbert 400 Features

Most of the people will laugh, and some will just smile. But it brings you and the other guy into a good mood, not by telling ‘here how it should be done’.

Then, tell him a story. Not just any story, but this one:

Steve Jobs gave a small private presentation about the iTunes Music Store to some independent record label people. My favorite line of the day was when people kept raising their hand saying, “Does it do [x]?”, “Do you plan to add [y]?”. Finally Jobs said, “Wait wait — put your hands down. Listen: I know you have a thousand ideas for all the cool features iTunes could have. So do we. But we don’t want a thousand features. That would be ugly. Innovation is not about saying yes to everything. It’s about saying NO to all but the most crucial features.”

From what I’ve experienced, the other guy always said: “That’s true. I agree with that. We should focus on the most crucial features.”

ps. You should practice the way you tell that story, it brings more impact if you can tell it like a storyteller.

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