user interface is everything

December 8, 2010

Developers often have a tendency to be feature-focused, that is, they put the majority of their time and energy into coding back-end features and functionality. Conversely, to produce a successful software product in 2010, the opposite must be done.

While it may sound counterproductive to put core features on the backburner and focus on the UI – that’s exactly what needs to be done. For me, the easiest way to think about it is this: additional features can always be coded later, functionality can be added in updates, but for any of that to be accessible to the user, and in order to make those additional features readily available, a solid UI needs to be created for the first release.

The software business in 2010 is much more a meritocracy than ever before, and consequently, the success of a product is determined more and more by consumer choice. Advertising and other overheads are much less important now than they were ten years ago: due largely to the web, and the prominence of social media (Facebook, Twitter and blogs) where consumers will freely share their opinions on products to a huge number of friends.

With the greater choice they now possess, consumers will inevitably choose the software they find easiest to use over software which claims to have more features – and consequently the product which demonstrates the simplest and most functional UI will be the one which ultimately succeeds.

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