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Functions & Features versus User Experience

Written by Michiel Dorjee on . Posted in Exact Synergy

Thank you for investing some of your precious time to read this article. I’m Aad ‘t Hart and have a long history in various R & D roles with Exact. Years ago I was one of the initiators of Exact Synergy and more recently my primary responsibilities are research into the future business applications. This the first article in hopefully a long series of articles were I will share our vision on trends, innovations in business software and how we apply these into our products.

The title of this article ‘Functions & Features versus User Experience’ immediately addresses one of the key challenges of our industry. Based on market and competitive analysis, technology trends, and customer feedback many features are added to the products. This is a natural process in the product life cycle creating products that are wider and deeper in functionality. People who require this added functionality are enthusiastic and it helps them achieving their goals, however for people who don’t need the new functionality it has a negative influence on their user experience.

Every company looks for differentiators in their product and for long the number of Functions & Features was an easy way to measure against the competition. The continues addition of Functions & Features has created an arms race on features and they have lost their capabilities to differentiate, because it’s assumed that the product is rich in Functions & Features. Today the overall User Experience, is the product easy to learn and use, is the user happy and more hard to measure attributes become more important.

This all creates an enormous challenge, because adding Functions & Features for one person makes the product better, while for another person it makes the product harder and more difficult to use. Customer feedback, and we thank you for that, already shows us these conflicting perceptions of new functionality. We constantly do our best to qualify not only the added value of new functionality, but also for which percentage of the people it adds value. We try to optimize adding functionality in such a way that they are beneficial for most people using the product. We combine this with efforts to optimize and improve the experience of existing functionality. This however creates an even bigger challenge, because it requires changes in something that the users have become accustomed to.

We believe we can help you best by creating products that are rich in functionality and offer an excellent user experience. However this will not come without change and disappointments. We appreciate and look forward to your feedback to jointly work on creating these excellent experiences.

Image credit: d’n’c

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