Prioritising Feature Release vs User Experience: A Market-driven Approach

Product Design
4 minutes
When it comes to product development, striking the right balance between feature release and user experience is crucial. Jared Spool, a renowned UX expert, offers valuable insights based on the market's current state. In this blog post, we explore Spool's three-stage framework that can help businesses make informed decisions about where to invest their resources and how to approach design battles.

The Three Stages of the Market

1. Technical Stage

In the early days of a product launch, during the technical stage, novelty and lack of competition are on your side. Customers are eager to find solutions to their pain points and are more tolerant of varying levels of feature fidelity. The key priority in this stage is to get your product to market quickly. Speed matters, allowing you to establish a foothold and capture early adopters.

2. Feature Stage

As the market evolves, competition emerges, and users become more discerning. In the feature stage, customers' adoption decisions heavily rely on the presence of critical features. To stay competitive, it becomes essential to identify the features that resonate most with your users and achieve core feature parity with your competitors. This stage demands careful prioritisation and a focus on addressing user needs effectively.

3. Experience Stage

In the experience stage, the market is saturated, and critical features have reached a plateau. To differentiate yourself from the competition, your focus should shift towards providing an exceptional user experience. Competing on user experience entails streamlining the onboarding process, reducing conversion costs, and delivering a delightful, intuitive interface. By prioritising user experience, you can attract and retain customers even when feature differentiations are limited.

Applying the Framework 

Spool's framework is a valuable rule of thumb for resource allocation and design decision-making. By understanding which stage your product is in, you can better align your efforts and resources. Investing in rapid development and market penetration is crucial during the technical stage. In the feature stage, prioritise identifying critical features and achieving feature parity. Finally, in the experience stage, channel your focus into enhancing user experience and reducing friction.

It's a wrap

When determining whether to prioritise feature release or user experience, considering the current state of the market is paramount. Jared Spool's three-stage framework provides valuable guidance, allowing businesses to make informed decisions. By acknowledging the importance of each stage and adapting your strategies accordingly, you can effectively allocate resources, engage users, and drive success in a competitive landscape.

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