Jason Fried's take on product development decisions

Shouldn’t everything be obvious? Unless you’re making a product that just does one thing – like a paperclip, for example – everything won’t be obvious. You have to make tough calls about what needs to be obvious, what should be easy, and what should be possible. The more things something (a product, a feature, a screen, etc) does, the more calls you have to make.

You often hear the advice to focus and simplify but wonder if the overuse of such words turns them into a hollow pumpkin just like "think outside the box". They become generic and nice to repeat but lack any substance to act upon.

Isn't the Aim of Product Development to Make All Features Obvious to Users?

Jason's fresh perspective sidesteps this vagueness and word play with a practical criteria you can use. Just the process of categorizing features and options helps you dive deeper into understanding both your user and product by forcing you to think. And sometimes just mulling over it can do wonder.

While building out a site earlier, caught myself not only adding many elements but trying to emphasize them all, and here's the thing, unconsciously. Simply by not understanding where to lead a visitor's attention. You have to remember that not making a decision is a decision as well.

This is where seeking to understand why the site (or product) exists AND categorizing features into obvious, easier, and possible come together. This is the essence of design, like a film, only shining the camera light on just a few elements at a time and having everything else as a supporting role.

Anyway, Steve likes Fred's take:

Making something obvious is expensive because it often means you have to a whole bunch of other things less obvious. Obvious dominates and only one thing can truly dominate at a time

product development

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