Question: Should new features alter the current UX or go with it?

Q: Should new features alter the current UX or go with it?

Ok, I’m going to give you my personal answer to this question I’m not speaking for InVision at all here. (Opinions are my own etc.) 🙂

So I think the first question is what is your definition of UX? It sounds like you’re talking current UX in reference to keeping an existing UI and workflow, based on the way this question is worded.

If that’s your meaning, then I think you really need to make sure you’re not getting stuck in a legacy tar pit. Products need to continually evolve, and you can’t get too precious with legacy features. “It’s always been done this way” isn’t a UX mentality that is going to push your company or product to the forefront of your industry. You’re basically chaining yourself to the wall.

On the other hand, if you’re going to make a drastic UI change to improve UX and push your product forward, you’d better test the ish out of those changes before launch, and prepare for fallout.

At my last startup, we had to rebuild our entire product from the ground up when we moved from asp to .NET to make room for new functionality that asp just couldn’t support. When we started the rebuild, we analyzed the daylights out of the current feature usage stats and if they were under utilized we reached out to our customers to find out why. Sometimes their feedback was that the feature just wasn’t needed, other times it was because the UX was rough. So we sunsetted some features and we improved the UX of the others in the rebuild. For the tiny percentage of users that used the sunsetted features (and I mean TINY) we got some pretty intense backlash.

It’s tough, but you need to remember that the changes you’re making are to improve the experience for a majority of your users. Keeping a bunch of old, outdated, unnecessary features in your product for a tiny group of users isn’t going to help anyone, especially not the users who are so attached to the functionality. 

That backlash over sunsetted features leads to opportunities to create something significantly better to solve the problem the fired up customer is describing. You can’t just keep a feature because someone might be using it. Or add one because a few clients want it. You need to look at your entire customer base and research what will best for them and the industry going forward. Tech moves forward at breakneck speed, if you don’t keep pushing forward, you’ll get left in the dust.

If the question is meant to ask if new features should alter UX in a general sense, then absolutely yes.

If you’re adding a new feature to your product, it had better improve the UX, otherwise there’s no point. If the features are not positively adding to the user’s experience by improving the functionality and the way they integrate your product in their workflow, then the feature shouldn’t be added at all. I like to compare new features to the old saying, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”  If the feature isn’t going to have a positive impact on your product’s UX, don’t add it at all.

Keeping a product simple and free of feature bloat is tricky business. It’s much harder to create a clean, simple, really usable product, than it is a product that’s basically giant a trash heap of poorly executed features.  If a feature isn’t going to make a positive impact, ax it.

BUT… don’t get stuck in a rut and stop adding new features that can really make a positive impact because you’re so terrified of feature bloat. Keep moving forward, I’m just saying keep a close eye on your target persona and do serious research with them to make sure you’re identifying the right problems to solve with new features and changes.

So that was a LONG answer to a short question. haha I hope that helps!

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