Wonder why your product sucks? Well, to start… it probably has a bunch of crap most of your users don’t need.
It has way too many features. The features it does have are too complicated to use. The nifty feature you’re so proud of was garbage from the start and you knew it shouldn’t have been built in the first place.
I’m not bagging on you. It’s probably not your fault. So how did we get here?
1) Stakeholders gone wild
Tell me if you’ve heard this one before…
Product Manager: “It should be simple, intuitive, really easy to use…”
Designer: “Ok, great”
Product Manager: “…but can you make it do [insert unnecessary feature]? Also, I’d like it to [insert useless feature] so we’re distinguished from [insert competitor that targets a different customer].
Designer: “Ummm, ok”
Product Manager: “Oh and the director team mentioned it would be cool to [insert really f#%king useless feature] so let’s get that in and impress them.”
Yup, that’s how many features get on the roadmap.
Slight side note… “Make it simple” is the probably the most common objective for products and features. Users, stakeholders, product managers and everyone in between know technology should be simple. Then they spend the next pile of words telling you all of the specifics that will absolutely make it nothing but complicated.
This one is not on you… the suits have lost their ever loving mind. I feel your pain.
[tweet “The suits have lost their ever loving’ mind… #design #ux”]
2) You’re too clever…
We’re designers. We solve problems. Any problem has a ton of solutions, we probably like more than one. You go too far and you’re like…
When you probably just needed one of those weak IKEA hammers to tap the nail in. Do this every release for some years and your simple text editor looks like this…
Ok, I exaggerated a bit there. Don’t judge me.
Brainstorming new features and coming up with ideas is fun. You feel like you’re contributing, you’re solving problems. Too often though we let these ideas bloat products. Don’t do that.
3) You lost track of the problem…
Like I said, we’re designers… we solve problems. Keep your eye on the prize. Pick a problem and solve it. Solve it well.
[tweet “Pick a problem and solve it. Solve it well. #design #ux”]
If you’re market needs their invoices streamlined and you’re solving that problem… but they also have a problem with waste management in the building, don’t try to solve that in your invoicing app.
You laugh. You think I’m exaggerating (I am) but it’s not too far from what I’ve heard in product meetings.
Your effort to simplify your life may have lost some steam but for the love all of things good bring it back to your product. It probably needs it.