The UX of Releasing Features

Every time we release a big upgrade to our SaaS software, I always get this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.  I feel rotten about all of the features that didn’t make the cut and all of the potential bugs that may still be lingering like little roadside bombs.  I imagine users getting confused and try to imagine their pain.

The reality is that we are not the center of our customers universe.  They care alot less about the new features than we do.  In fact, new features often results in depression and annoyance by customers.  It comes in several flavors:

  1. Thanks for the new feature, I wanted something like this.  However, I am busy and really don’t want to take advantage of it until spring…of next year.
  2. Why did you build this?  I didn’t want this.  I wanted something else!
  3. Where the hell did my cheese go?  It used to be right here!  What did you do?
  4. I get it, I think.  Umm, maybe I don’t get it.  What does it do?

We tend to think (especially in Silicon Valley) that if we don’t release more features, more more more, than the competition will surpass us! Although innovation is an important factor, it really impacts customers less than you think.

Soon enough, the release “newness” will die down and it will back to normal, getting ready for the next release.  It’s a little like surfing, I imagine.  One big wave and then paddling, then another big wave and more paddling.  A never-ending ocean of features.

One reply on “The UX of Releasing Features”

As a user of many frequently updated websites, services and applications, I always find it refreshing to see a huge list of “Fixed X, Y, Z” in the version notes. I tend to pass right by the new features unless I know there’s something I’ve been waiting for in the pipeline.

I still think Silicon Valley needs to focus a bit more on quality than quantity, but I may be totally biased 🙂

Whatya think?