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It’s the Experience That Makes the Product, Not the Features


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It’s the Experience That Makes the Product, Not the Features
with Lee Dale

presented on March 07 2015
at FITC's Spotlight UX/UI
More info at

All too often, products are brought to market with a feature-first approach. A list of functions that are needed to meet business goals such as sign-ups or downloads, views or shares. There’s little thought that’s gone into who the user of the product will be, what their goals are, and what it will take to provide meaningful value to them.

We’ll look at what it means to bring a focused, valuable Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to market. An MVP that can help you learn how to better serve your users, and the business that’s footing the bill.

To understand that no great product began with a list of features. It’s the experience that engages users and drives adoption, so it’s the experience that you need to focus on when bringing a product to market.

Product Owners, Developers, Founders, UX/UI Designers.

This should be a great introduction for folks who are thinking of bringing a product to market or are working on a product which isn’t quite connecting with its intended audience.

Great digital products do just one thing really well.
They serve a target that can’t live without that one thing.
Features are a byproduct of the product experience—they don’t drive the experience.
You need to deliver a focused MVP to market.
Then learn from that MVP and continue to refine the experience for your users, and your business.

Published in: Design
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It’s the Experience That Makes the Product, Not the Features

  1. 1. It’s the Experience That Makes the Product, Not the Features. Putting experience first from the MVP on up. #experiencefirst @smack416 at @yousayyeah
  2. 2. Let’s talk product.
  3. 3. Features, therefore product.
  4. 4. Engineering only products consistently fail.
  5. 5. Just because something functions doesn’t mean it serves a purpose.
  6. 6. “When we started talking to our customers and seeing how they used our service, it was the defining moment of success that turned the company around.” Joe Gebbia, AirBnB @jgebbia
  7. 7. User-centred design leads to better products.
  8. 8. The rise of the MVP. Photo by Kristina Servant
  9. 9. Minimum Viable ProductPhoto by Kristina Servant
  10. 10. An MVP is anything you can get to market quickly and easily to prove your product’s viability.
  11. 11. MVP doesn’t necessarily mean code.
  12. 12. MVP does mean high-touch customer engagement.
  13. 13. You need to: Find your market. Find your advocates.
  14. 14. Video. Concierge MVP. Landing page. Newsletter. Prototype. Above all, experiment.
  15. 15. Wash’n’fold concierge MVP.
  16. 16. Kipu beta signup.
  17. 17. Kipu price test.
  18. 18. Kipu video.
  19. 19. Kipu features page.
  20. 20. Buffer product MVP.
  21. 21. Buffer price MVP.
  22. 22. An MVP is a tool for turning questions into answers.
  23. 23. You can’t improve without user insight.
  24. 24. Get to market early and often to gain insight.
  25. 25. “Shipping is a feature.” John Gruber
  26. 26. Features are a distraction.
  27. 27. Features are a distraction 
 for you.
  28. 28. Features are a distraction 
 for your users.
  29. 29. So how do you decide which features to add? Let’s look at 6 considerations.
  30. 30. Does the feature add clarity to the core purpose of the product?
  31. 31. Will the feature delight 
 your users, adding unexpected value?
  32. 32. Will the feature be 
 used often?
  33. 33. Will the feature be 
 difficult to ship?
  34. 34. Will users understand the feature?
  35. 35. Will users talk about the feature?
  36. 36. “Product/market fit means being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market.” Marc Andreessen
  37. 37. Construction app Bridgit, conducted 500 interviews at construction sites.
  38. 38. Zappos began with 
 no inventory.
  39. 39. “In a startup no facts exist inside the building, only opinions.” Steve Blank
  40. 40. Dropbox lessons learned. From CEO Drew Houston’s slide deck.
  41. 41. Deliver an experience. Photo by Everett Mar
  42. 42. Define the core user need. Make a product that meets just that need in a delightful way.
  43. 43. “I wanted to take the scheduling feature of many Twitter clients and apps and make that single feature awesome.” Joel Gascoigne, Buffer CEO
  44. 44. Think in terms of benefits, not features.
  45. 45. 4 clicks to auto schedule a tweet to a single account.
  46. 46. Features are a distraction from defining and measuring experience.
  47. 47. Do less better. Photo by Mr.TinDCCupcake vs Dry Cake model from Brandon Schauer, Adaptive Path
  48. 48. Photo by Don Buciak II Think big.
  49. 49. Start small. Photo by Gurjot Bhuller
  50. 50. Not big and dull. Photo by Carrie Grayson
  51. 51. Photo by Ree Roebeck And definitely not this.
  52. 52. Experience every step of the way. From Henrik Kniberg
  53. 53. The simplicity 
 of Hyperlapse.
  54. 54. No user accounts. No video editing. No file manager. iOS only.
  55. 55. Simple, but magical.
  56. 56. Wellcast
  57. 57. But how do we get there?
  58. 58. Experience is holistic.
  59. 59. Experience goes well beyond the product.
  60. 60. Customer expectations. Marketing. Support. And so much more.
  61. 61. But even focusing just on the product, experience is the sum of so many parts.
  62. 62. Your product’s purpose. The value to your users. Ease of use. Interactivity. Consistency. Personality.
  64. 64. Keep the overall 
 experience in mind.
  65. 65. “Sometimes you don’t need to change the way a product works, you need to change the story.” Ilona Posner @ilonaposner
  66. 66. Don’t be so quick to code.
  67. 67. “Success is not delivering a feature; success is learning how to solve a customer’s problem.” Scott Cook, Intuit
  68. 68. Remember, MVP.
  69. 69. Benefits, not features.
  70. 70. Your product should serve just one need delightfully.
  71. 71. Make your MVP an 
 exceptional experience. Photo by DixieBelleCupcakeCafe
  72. 72. Every effort that follows needs to extend, not diminish that experience.
  73. 73. Every feature you add is a distraction.
  74. 74. Don’t add a feature unless it serves the core user need.
  75. 75. Or you’ll end up with this.
  76. 76. Being disrupted by this.
  77. 77. Say Yeah!
 @yousayyeah Lee Dale
 @smack416 Thank you.