A quick survey of some of the most popular websites across a handful of sectors should help inform if we need a home link on our websites. I’ve also included a handful of well known design shops so we get a User Experience design perspective.
Feature bloat is a an issue for any company that sells software, as you probably sell it on the features, and in most cases to stay competitive, you add new features.
Too many features in any piece of software can create an ever expanding navigation menu which can increase the users decision time, thus increasing their cognitive load, worst still you could leave the user disorientated and confused.
Hick’s law, or the Hick–Hyman law, named after British and American psychologists William Edmund Hick and Ray Hyman, describes the time it takes for a person to make a decision as a result of the possible choices he or she has: increasing the number of choices will increase the decision time.
Here’s a handful of symptoms you can check to see if your system has feature bloat:
Not taking features out
Users asking “wheres that feature?”
Feels “too big to re-design”
No ongoing Improvement stage
Help Documentation out of date
If you have one or all of these symptoms in your system, chances are you have Feature Bloat and it’s having a negative effect on your systems product quality, creating a poor user experience.
All is not lost, there are treatments for these symptoms:
Early this morning I was watching the TV and drinking my first cup of tea of the day, I accidentally clicked the Source button on the remote, instead of MOTD playing highlights of the weekends football – my TV switched over to a Harry Potter DVD from the previous night. My 3 year old viewed scary images of Voldermort and whimpered “I don’t like it”. I scrambled to grab the remote and corrected my error.
It seems a similar incident occurred in Hawaii over the weekend…
User Persona design can be used to gain empathy and maintain understanding of a targeted fictitious user, whether this is to design a website, phone app, business process software, or to design a major component of a critical disinformation operation in the Second World War that lead to the defeat of Hitler, in true James Bond style, let me explain…
I have been in the position a few times where I have explained designs to stakeholders whom look totally perplexed when I say “It’s my best guess for what we need”. Stakeholder “So… your guessing?”. I reply “Well, yes”.
Without user testing we’re just assuming our design decisions are right.
I wouldn’t fancy funding my business on an assumption.
For years now I’ve been saying this to many a product owner or client, typically a question is raised at the speccing out stage of a project by a client saying “you’ve quoted 14 hours for admin and meetings? seems like a lot”. It’s at this stage I envisage myself in a black polo neck and round glasses delivering a speech on stage about the iPhone 1 with crowd in awe of my presence and innovation ideas and I reply to the naysayer with “Design is a conversation”, you can feel the smug in the air.
If designer and client are not talking enough it will lead to frustration by both parties. The design will be way of the mark. Leading to frustration from the client as the Designer will seemingly not look as if they “get it”, and frustration by the Designer as there’s not enough conversation and exploration to truly set design objectives.
Design is iteration
– Anthony Brewitt
I’m back on stage again….
This time client has asked “we’ve been through this once, do we really need to go over it again?” I’m back on stage with Woz by my side, delivering a stunning rebuttal “Design is iteration”. Again my delivery must sound so arrogant, it makes me blush.
What I mean to say is that design is an ongoing conversation and that an ongoing conversation in an iterative cycle is how we end up with a product that delivers on the clients goals.
Design needs testing and iteration to improve, each cycle of iteration moves the design closer to meeting user and stakeholder needs.
Google, Facebook and of course Apple have set a trend in technology that has changed software forever. These companies have created highly engaging and intuitive products that have raised the bar in terms of what users expect from software. They expect this good software experience to continue at work too.