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Feature fatigue – How can this affect usability?

With advancements in technology, it’s become all too tempting, and easy, for tech companies to dump as many features into their products as they can in the hope that each new feature will serve as a key point of differentiation.

Their logic is sound if sales is their only goal. Customer satisfaction and loyalty are, however, destined to suffer. Research has proven over and over again that consumers place high value on the range of a product’s capabilities at the time of purchase, with a “more-features-the-merrier” attitude. To the contrary, though, customer satisfaction diminishes over time as they struggle to use a product that they find to be overly complex.

The incidence of “feature fatigue” suggests that today’s tech companies should focus on providing a range of specialised, targeted products with a limited number of well-researched, well-designed features in order to increase customer lifetime value.

Usability has become the driver of great product design

Consider this: when Apple released the iPad, critics poked fun at the new device, claiming it was but a mere iPod with a larger screen and fewer features. Consumers, however, thought otherwise. Rather than focusing on what the product lacked, they appreciated its intuitive, purposefully-tailored design. In circumventing the features rat race, the iPad disrupted an entire industry with its focus on simplicity and usability.

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