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Welcome to episode #019 of Custom Made and today I’m joined again by Steven Ray, Partner and Head of Research and Design here at Dialexa.

Steve leads experience and creative direction at Dialexa partnering closely with clients and developers to create a seamless user experience.

Steve previously joined me on Episode #7 of Custom Made where we discussed the value of designing the wrong product. Once you have finished with this episode, be sure to check out Episode #7.

Steve believes that focusing on the user frequently gets over-shadowed by focusing on the interface and that it’s important to learn about the person and cater the technology to the user rather than make the user figure out how to use the technology or interface.

Steve and his team continually bring the latest thinking and techniques in how we design products here at Dialexa, both visually and from a user experience - there is a difference between these two approaches that should never be undervalued.

On this weeks episode Steve and I are exploring how to decide which features to add, keep, and kill to avoid “Experience Rot”.

We define Experience Rot as a product that has ever increasing features being added, leading to increasing complexity, which decreases the user experience and ultimately starts to cost you users (and revenue).

When working on your product roadmap it is as important to assess which features need to be removed from your product over time, as it is which existing or new features will continue to drive growth and increase engagement.

Not all feature bets will pay off, and it is better to move them to a feature graveyard than have them clutter your user experience.

As you look at all of your existing and potential features it can be difficult to identify which to add or remove, and in what order.

During our episode Steve suggests the following:

  1. Carefully review the usage analytics of each live feature
  2. Leverage simple surveys of the small percentage of people that use a low-used feature to see if they would have an opinion if went away
  3. Prioritize your current and potential feature list in two ways - user segments affected and by using an I.C.E. score

By understanding which user segment or segments a feature aligns with, you can make sure you see who, and how many, of your users and potential users will be affected by either adding, removing or keeping a particular feature. This ensures that you are focusing on your business critical users as you make feature decisions.

A feature I.C.E. score is defined as 1-5 grading of the following elements:

  • Impact: Impact can be on the Business or the User - this could be the cost to the business to run the feature or opportunity to increase retention of a particular user segment
  • Confidence: Confidence in the impact on the business or customer. Make sure you are armed relevant data points and feedback from your users, not just making changes on a whim.
  • Ease: Find out how difficult it is to add, remove or maintain the feature. What is the level of resources required? Does your business even have the current skills set to make the change?

You then total these up for each feature and rank highest to lowest to prioritize.

You can catch Steve's full Custom Made episode here:

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I hope you enjoy this episode!

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