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Feature Bloat

  • By Ryan Skidmore

Too much of a good thing.

More features are not always a good thing. Most likely, more features are usually a bad thing. Behold the Combination Grocer’s Package, Cheese Grater, Slicer, Mouse and Fly Trap, patent 1897.


While modern examples are not quite so absurd, they are equally a waste of time. For advice on keeping less than exquisite and essential feature out, we consult the opinion of Steve Jobs, former and beloved front man of Apple Inc.

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”

This is precisely why certain Android phones seem to have lots of “cool” features eons before the iPhone, yet the iPhone continues to out sell and be more adored by fans and critics, an impressive feat indeed, over any single Android based product. Most creators of products don’t really-truly, deep-down know what their audience wants (focus groups can accomplish only so much) thus they throw every good (not great) idea they have into their Thing. Some hope that a few of these features will stick and others truly believe that each of these features will profoundly change the way their audience lives and moves through life. While more features don’t solve more problems, more features do make using that product more complicated. To navigate these features there must be more menus and logic to how the menus are organized. As the product gets more complicated so does the logic and in no time flat the average user has no idea where to find what they need. The product has actually taken steps backward into negative space to become…useless. Products that some may find frustrating are touch screens in cars, and high-end digital guitar effects pedals because they have so many peripheral features exactly how to operate their primary functions is not always obvious.

swiss knife

Less is more.

The simplest way to avoid feature bloat is to create products with features users will actually use and not ones that sound great, but lack any kind of history, vetting process, or context. (Note: the word user is based on the word use. Profound!) Carmine brings years and years of experience in fleet management software to the game. We have spent countless hours weighing which features to bring to our customers and we will spend countless more keeping our product simple and useful.

The foremost reason to shunning feature bloat is to keep a product’s interface simple and easily organized. Products like phones and computers that do a lot of disparate things are notorious for complicated back-end menus. Take my word for it. Saas products, like yours truly, don’t live in this disparate multitool universe and should not try to be like the majestic peacock that puffs itself up to look bigger than it is. No siree! At Carmine, what you see is what you get.

Remember at the end of the day a product should solve your main issues as simple as possible.  Less is more!

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