"We need to add X, Y & Z to the current product or we will never grow." I'm sure you've heard this before, and you may have even said it yourself. If this is not managed well, we can end up with a case of featuritis.
Trying to build something people love is very challenging. In most projects, there is always someone pushing for more features, and more functionality. Fortunately, in a lot of cases there are not enough resources and time to fit them in at first, but through iterations it's easy to forget that simple usually wins the race. I find that building simple experiences is a lot like flossing in that most people know it's good, but we don't do it enough.
Simple - adjective
- easily understood or done; presenting no difficulty.
Duh right? Well lets break this down into some takeaways.
1. Goals, Goals, Goals
What is the #1 metric that drives your company? What is the #1 thing your target user is trying to do? Clarify your business goals and the goals of the user. Once you have a few for each listed out, it's very important to prioritize them. This will help you focus on the most important goals first. You'll be surprised how much this affects the UI of your product.
2. Clarity is King
Remember those goals? Use them to help frame your value proposition. Your target user must understand the value of your product within 5 seconds of seeing it. If they don't you're likely overcomplicating it or not speaking in the users' voice. It's not easy to come up with a tagline, but start with the following, "[Product Name] provides [Value Proposition] to [Target Users]." If the user doesn't know what to do, then it's hard for them to experience what is easy to do.
3. Less Hustle, More Flow
Frankly, don't make your users do any extra work if you can do it for them. There are dozens of examples of this, but instead of listing them I suggest looking at companies like Square, Uber & AirBnB. The less the user has to think, the higher chance they will get into a "flow" which should improve conversions.
Keep these in mind on your next project, and hopefully you'll focus less on features, and more on building memorable experiences that screams, "Wow, that was so easy!". Everyone in the company will see the benefit.