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But our customers want it

Jürgen Schweizer of Cultured Code warns against adding features simply because customers ask for them:

  • We get a lot of feature requests, but what our customers don’t always realize is that if we went ahead and put an idea straight into the product, we’d probably break it. It would be too much or we’d have to move something important. So we try to resist adding new features.
  • Instead, we try to reverse engineer the ideas—to figure out what problem the customer was having and to think about whether or not it’s something we should try to solve in our software.

Features often involve trade-offs that customers aren’t always aware of. Letting applications run in the background on your mobile phone sounds good—until you realize how quickly that can drain your battery and how annoying it can be to find out which apps are running and turn them off manually.

Adding features doesn’t always make the user’s experience simpler. Often it can lead to more frustration.

Sometimes you may be able to come up with an alternative solution that meets customers’ real needs (such as letting them switch between mobile applications quickly). But don’t be afraid to ignore requests to add more to your product.

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