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This chapter is from the book

Prioritizing features

When you’re trying to figure out which features to keep and which to remove, follow these principles:

  • Identify the users’ goals and set them in order of priority. For the DVD remote control, the main goal is to watch the DVD; a secondary goal would be to use the DVD extras; a less important goal would be to play other media, like music CDs, MP3s, and so on.
  • Focus on solutions that completely meet users’ high-priority goals. Only then move on to the lower-priority goals.
  • Identify things that are common sources of anxiety or stress and prioritize features that alleviate that stress effortlessly. For instance, interruptions (such as the telephone) are a common frustration when watching TV. The pause button on a DVD remote control is a way of minimizing that frustration.
  • Identify the “good enough” controls that satisfy mainstream users’ needs and the “precision” controls for experts. Set aside the “precision” controls. For instance, the DVD remote control in this book has four buttons that directly control fast-forwarding. Two controls (fast-forward and skip to the end of a chapter) would be good enough in almost all situations.

And finally, don’t be tempted to judge the value of your product by the number of features. Instead, consider how well it meets users’ high-priority goals.

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