Please, Put That Feature Out of its Misery

Kill that feature. Put that feature out of its misery.

Just do it. For the feature’s sake. For your user’s sake. For your sake. Everyone will be happier in the end.

Anyone familiar with Net Promoter Score understands that a product needs to be 9 or a 10 (on a scale of 10) to really make an impact.

Let’s say your product is comprised of 100 features that are a “5 or a 6″, and of those, only 10% are actually used. At the end of the day, you simply won’t have a killer product.

But, perhaps your product has 10 features that you’ve worked really, really hard on, and all of them solve real problems for users. You’ve got a chance at scoring at 10.

Each feature you add should solve a problem for the user. When considering a feature, you should think to yourself first: “How can we avoid adding this feature? What can we do to prevent the user from ever seeing this?”

I obsess about this. I’m always looking at ways to remove fields, remove clicks, remove buttons, remove choices. Simplify, simplify, simplify. Then simplify some more.

From experience, some of the most successful products I have been a part of involved development teams fighting the urge to add features – even though the customer requested them – and instead focusing on simplicity.

As an example, in product review meetings, when you hear “We’ll just add a configuration setting for that” – you might want to rethink that feature and engineer it in a way that removes the configuration setting.

Design is about making hard choices. Deciding which features to build and which features to kill is hard. But ultimately, your product and your users will thank you for it.

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