Feature overload is a very recent phenomenon that can be seen in your mobile phones and tablets. The explosion of product features in high technology markets where consumers buy feature-rich products whose features they never really use is called feature overload. A lot of manufacturers choose to overload their products with features because it is relatively easy and economical. They also use it to motivate consumers to buy their products because theirs have more features.
Most businesses use marketing strategies to make feature overload look fantastic. But, in the long run, consumers become frustrated with their gadgets. They find it complicated and not user-friendly. In a book The Paradox of Choice, there is an interesting and very applicable psychological concept. It states: the greater the number of choices, the less happy people tend to be. True enough; products with feature overload may seem fascinating on the outside but frustrating on the inside. Besides, too much features tend to become slower than others with only enough features.
Learn from Yahoo, MSN, and AOL portals, LiveChat, Friendster, and MySpace, keep your product clean and offer only the features that your client needs.
Ways to avoid feature overload
- Build features which hit two birds with one stone.
One common mistake that leads to feature overload is when developers create features for two or more different tasks which can be consolidated into one. Take a look at Gmail. Users who receive invitations through email can easily add that invitation in his calendar by clicking “Create event”. No other tool is necessary for putting events in a calendar.
Another mistake that leads to feature overload is when developers create different products for different audiences when they can easily craft a single product for both or all clients. If a developer creates two apps with the same function, one for a freelancer and another for a corporation, it will contribute to feature overload. Observe how Gmail works. Google created a single email application for both freelancers and large companies. Should they want to improve and expand their emails, all they need to do is purchase a particular package or plan. Thus, any subsequent application fits the customers’ needs and will not make the email app a feature overload product.
- Consider perfect timing.
A mobile phone suffers overload when all the applications have already been installed before the consumer actually need them. Your clients do not need to see all your features at one time. Allow them to think things through whether they need a feature or not. Avoid feature overload by displaying and offering your features at the right time. Take Facebook as an example. When you use your mobile phone’s Chrome to connect to Facebook, it would suggest the mobile app once you click logout because this is when you will need the app.
- Offer an easy and comfortable product-user experience.
Always remember that your users are not as geeky as you are when it comes to seeing codes and applications in a single page. Design your features to appear neatly on a page. Design a user interface that is easy to manage and utilize to avoid feature overload.