Blog Post: Minimum User Design

In all honesty, I was drawn to the title of this post on Smashing Magazine because of my affinity for the Minimum Viable Product. In it, the author describes a way to gauge the progress of a website design and then add functionality after it accomplishes it’s primary need.

What a way to approach product design.

Regardless of which widget you make, it is pretty easy to identify what the primary purpose of that product. It toasts bread, informs readers, or holds your pants up. Perhaps that is all you ever intend your product to do. Eventually, depending on the success of initial sales, other features may creep their way into the road map.

Once that occurs, proper integration and feasibility is planned into the release. People didn’t originally want to toast bagels with the same apparatus that toasts bread, but we all see that feature now. It required thought.

Unfortunately, not all products are designed that way.

When planning some pieces of software, stakeholders all want to cram their pet feature into an already crowded release. After wire framing, requirement gathering and comps are finished, a massive amount of work sits before the development team to code.

Instead, take a look at the original problem the product needs to solve. Make sure it does that in a concise manner, and slowly zoom out. If your pet feature doesn’t make it in, it should be moved to a later release. We must continue to make these decisions if we are going to efficiently use our team’s time and put the right widgets in users hands.

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