False Features

Strategy, Architecture & Problem-Solving

False Features


Are the features you provide in your products the features that your customers want or those you think they want?

Variants on that question are common. But all too often, a feature slips through and you have to wonder how it got there, how was it approved, why did the company spend time and effort to build it?

I was browsing for some headphones over the weekend.  I saw the typical functional features of playtime due to battery, recharge time, frequency response, etc. I also saw the non-functional features such as design, shape, colour, etc.

Then I saw this feature, where you could use the hashtag #LameIdeas for your benefit (#hashtag name changed to protect the innocent). The idea was that you could take an image of yourself using the headphones and then  post that image using the provided hashtag.

How is that a feature? 

Later on in the specification, it mentions this phrase:

“won’t slow you down”

I had never considered a situation where headphones would slow me down. Even the 1980s headphones, bereft of the miniaturisation possibilities available today, didn’t slow you down.

In both cases, the features are nothing to do functionally with the product; instead they’re most likely marketing’s view of how the product should be used, especially by those they think will be using it. 

My gut feel is that was an inside-out way of thinking. Marketing deciding what their customers would want and using that as a feature. However, it could be that the company conducted user research and found that the customers did want to post hash-tagged photos about their new headphones.

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