Advice: Develop Products for the 98%

Here’s some project management advice: And I’m going to complain a bit…  Hope you don’t mind.  🙂  I notice user interface design – especially in software products.  I notice menu placements, dialog box layout, screen widgets, and everything else.  And there’s one thing that always bothers me.

    Complex products seemingly designed for 2% of the intended users – %*^$*#

Developers fall into a common trap: adding too many menus and screen gadgets.  Here’s how it happens…  Sales managers, product managers, and CEO’s all want products to do something new.  Something big and flashy.  Something they can sell.  So, they call down to the developer’s cubes to make it happen.  And it does!  Unfortunately, so do dozens of other feature requests.

Developers often don’t know how to bury the obscure features and highlight the common stuff.  Everything is given equal weighting in the user interface.  That’s okay until you have a hundred big features.  And then everything runs together.  Users see so much stuff, they can no longer gear the product to their own purposes.  It takes a Masters degree to figure it all out.

A better approach is to develop the product for the 98% of customers who will use it.  In other words, MAKE IT SIMPLE!  Bury the features intended for the other 2%.  That doesn’t mean you’ll only bury 2% of the menus and dialogs because normally about 50% of the product falls into the “obscure” category.  Bury all that, and explain it to the 2% who need it.