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Monday 16 March 2009

You want your product to succeed? Tell the user what it is, clearly.

confuse

Successful products have many notable attributes. One, however, is most significant - the ability to clearly say to the user what it is.

A productivity tool needs to be recognizable as one. A social networking site has to say that it is so. A forum has to look like a forum.

Ambiguity is the first step towards failure. A product that doesn't speak for itself and say what it is, will confuse users about its purpose and end up being neglected.

Most product owners seem to want too much and yet play safe. Mostly unclear as to what they really want to provide to their users, and under pressure to face up to competition and not be left behind, they end up creating multiple objectives without a central focus. The result is a salad of ideas, each with independent objectives, none of which add to the objective of the whole.

Focusing on a central idea and saying what it is, seems risky - it seems easier to bet on a bag of ideas and hope that some of them will work out rather than having to put your money on one. Ambiguity seems to be a guise for lack of confidence. The end result is a mediocre product and the probable path to eventual failure.

It must be realized by all product owners, that product development is a risky business. Here taking risk is the only way to be safe, and playing safe the riskiest and the surest path to failure.

(Photo Credit: Tall Chris, Flickr)

1 comment:

Ankur said...

I always say,,the first page should answer the question clearly to the user "Whats in it for me?"

Dont have too many things else you will confuse the user and he wud run away..

Something v simple, but v less understood/followed

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