Saturday, February 02, 2008

Features that sell products are often useless

This is the curse of product design. The features that sell a product are most often ignored. More precisely, they are not used by the people who buy the product.

It's a curse because, as most of us have noticed by now, we live in a universe where resources are finite. The features that are not used, hence useless, have a cost. That cost is either paid by increases in product price, or by taking away from features customers don't realize they need, or by using lower quality inputs, or by spending less on quality control.

Product managers, developers and designers learn this painful lesson -- sooner or later. They put features in products that won't be used, skimp on the things that don't sell, mourn that they deliver less value than they could.

The only answer is smarter customers, but that may take a long long time ...

Of course similar behaviors are seen in mate selection as well ...

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