UX Technique: Main Street

There is a technique I use alot when thinking about the architecture of a SaaS product.  It’s called Main Street.  It comes from when I visited Disney Land.  The technique makes an analogy of building a product to designing a theme park.  You have to decide where everything lives and how the roads interact with each other.  Envision your product as a physical place with different “streets”.

Think of Main Street as the most important CORE of your product.  Main Street is defined as the stuff in your application that, if removed, would cripple the application.  Like the ability to Link on LinkedIn;  Without it, there is no product.  You have to decide what is on main street and what isn’t.  Anything that can be removed and still be a viable product in the marketplace is not on Main Street.

Why is this useful?
Having Main Street allows you to prioritize building the application as well as explain to QA (Quality Assurance) what is the most important stuff to be tested. It allows Marketing to clearly understand the primary point of of the app and how to position it.  It helps designers to focus the best views and most wonderful experience in this path.  It helps everyone get on the same page.

Of course, this doesn’t mean the entire product is just Main Street.  There are other rides and features all throughout the application.  However, you should always know what is critical and what is not.

Take a look at your app and write down a series of steps for the user to exercise the critical path of the application.  If they do something that could be left out and still have a viable product, then you should eliminate it.  In the past, this technique has helped to provide clarity to the entire enterprise.  Hopefully it will make your application, the happiest place on earth.

Whatya think?