Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles > Design > Voices That Matter

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

How not to do it

The wrong approach to removing features is getting rid of anything that’s difficult to build.

A few years ago, I worked on a website that was intended to help people conserve electricity. The big idea was to let people track their electricity usage online and see how small changes in their habits could lead to big savings.

When it came time to begin the design, the project manager decided this feature was too difficult to deliver and dropped it in favor of publishing some articles about saving electricity. When the site launched, it looked substantial, but there was nothing compelling or original about it and it failed to gain the intended audience.

This is a common pattern. A deadline approaches, a budget tightens, and features are cut. Frequently, the team focuses on delivering as many features as possible. Those that are big or tricky to deliver are cancelled. If someone objects strongly, they’re told their feature will be pushed into “phase 2” or “phase 3.”

What’s left behind often adds up to an uninspiring product that’s similar to a lot of existing, mediocre offerings.

This approach can tear the heart out of a project and yet it’s the standard approach to removing features and content, one I’ve encountered far more than any other.

You can’t avoid the process of removing features and content. Every team has limited resources, and every design project I’ve encountered has reached the point where features or content needed to be cut. It might be a product that had grown too big over the years, or a new design that had to be reigned in.

Don’t wait for the unsympathetic, unsatisfactory process of cutting the most interesting features. Take charge of the design and ensure that you’re focusing only on delivering features and content that add value.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account