are your eyes bigger than your belly?

eye belly

So much time and energy goes in to designing, implementing, testing and releasing software features that only a minority of people use.

“Only 20% of a mobile phone’s features are used regularly; up to a quarter remain completely undiscovered”

from a study by WDSGlobal

1 billion apps downloaded from the App Store, yet most go used or unexplored. Our appetite is there, and for whatever reason our hunger fades quickly.

“Pinch Media drawing on iPhone analytics data highlights that (only) ~20% of user’s ever return to use an application the day after it is installed. There are many ways to interpret this data: the harshest being that ~80% of user’s are so unimpressed with their application that they never return to it.”

In some cases breadth of function is important, although no excuse for complexity.

“A lot of software developers are seduced by the old "80/20" rule. It seems to make a lot of sense: 80% of the people use 20% of the features. So you convince yourself that you only need to implement 20% of the features, and you can still sell 80% as many copies.

Unfortunately, it’s never the same 20%. Everybody uses a different set of features.”

Is featuritis driven by fear?

“Fear of being perceived as having fewer features than your competitors. Fear that you won’t be viewed as complete. Fear that people are making purchase decisions off of a checklist, and that he who has the most features wins (or at the least, that he who has the fewest features definitely loses). Fear of losing key clients who say, "If you don’t add THIS… I’ll have to go elsewhere."

Be brave. And besides, continuing to pile on new features eventually leads to an endless downhill slide toward poor usability and maintenance. A negative spiral of incremental improvements. Fighting and clawing for market share by competing solely on features is an unhealthy, unsustainable, and unfun way to live.

Be the "I Rule" product, not the "This thing I bought does everything, but I suck!" product.”


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