Joshua Ledwell wrote a short article expressing his perspective on designing software that is neither too simple nor too complex. He also links to some excellent other articles on the topic.
Designing For Competent Users
We’ve written in the past about how to design for competent users. In fact, it was Joshua’s link to that article that helped us find his article – thanks! Users start out as novices, and most of them become competent users. Very few of them reach a level of expertise with your product. You need to make sure you support both their growth and their likely “end state” – competence. The feature set needs to support the fact that most users end up in a state of competence.
One of several good links from Joshua’s article took us to Luke’s article on the sweet spot for selling software. Luke references an article from the Harvard Business Review and includes an interesting graph that shows the relationships between the number of features and profitability. In short, more features drive higher initial sales by satisfying the buying persona. Fewer features drive higher eventual sales through word-of-mouth marketing based on improved usability.
The HBR suggests a profit maximizing approach of seeking the middle ground in terms of feature quantity. Trying to please everyone tends to result in pleasing no one, so we don’t have a lot of confidence in this approach. But we still like the graph.
Some great thinking out there, what do y’all think in here?