June 02, 2006

KISS - Keeping It Simple Sells?

Harvard Business School has recently published a report entitled "Feature Bloat: The Product Manager's Dilemma". In it, they discuss one of the big problems facing anyone building products today - that when faced with a choice, people will often be initially drawn to the product with the most features, but in the long run they prefer simpler products that they can actually understand and work.

I'm definitely tending towards the cleaner, simpler, more understandable side of building products. DataCocoon doesn't offer the ability to burn your backup onto a CD because most people know how to copy things onto a CD, and it defeats the "backup software you can forget about" if you have to remember to put in a CD regularly. And with tedium I spend a lot of time working out how to add new features without cluttering the basic mechanism of getting my to-do items into the computer as quickly as possible.

The problem is then how to persuade people to use my software when at first glance it doesn't seem to compare well against some of the competition because they have more features. I'm hoping that the Internet, and the conversations and communication it allows through blogs, forums, usenet, etc. will give people the knowledge to look beyond the initial shiny baubles of an extra feature and choose the product that will best solve their problems.

Posted by Adrian at June 2, 2006 02:52 PM | TrackBack

This blog post is on the personal blog of Adrian McEwen. If you want to explore the site a bit further, it might be worth having a look at the most recent entries or look through the archives or categories over on the left.

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