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July 24, 2007

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Joshua - Your second link ("customers will almost always choose more features") seems to be broken. I can't read the link, but I don't completely agree with that statement - I think it depends on the maturity of the technology. It gets harder and harder to differentiate based on features, so I think what you said in the sentence before is closer to the truth - "all the relevant functionality MOST IMPORTANT to your target audience". If your product has serious holes in core functionality, yeah, usability isn't gonna save you. But once a market matures and most of the products ALL have the core functionality covered, the one with the most non-core features doesn't always win.

I agree with everything you wrote about developers, but I would add one thing: show respect for how difficult development is. It's easy for UXers and developers to form an adversarial relationship, and on the UX side I often see UXers who don't seem to appreciate "life as a developer". Long hours, unrealistic dates, lack of customer contact, constantly evolving technology, only getting recognition when something breaks, etc. It's a tough job. Obviously I think the same is true of UX, and I think developers could do a better job of appreciating us... but it's a two-way street.

Oh, and great point about serving snacks!

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Thanks for your comment Terry. I fixed the broken link. Via one of my early blog postings, it points to Donald Norman's infamous article "Simplicity is Highly Overrated."

I support my feature assertion with this and also with my experiences following the sales cycle at my software company. Sales is all about features and look and feel, while implementation and support is all about usability. Since the first area brings in direct revenue, it tends to win -- at least until enough customers stop renewing or repeating.

Your point is well taken about the difficulty of development. --Joshua

Hey Joshua,
I'm writing a book on communication between IT and the business. Would you like to collaborate?
James

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