When designers seek to enhance their product, it is often tempting for them to build additional features on top of what is already there. The idea is a simple one, derived from traditional retail businesses: When customers receive more value, they will feel better about the product.
Unfortunately, when it comes to app design, there are pitfalls to this strategy. Too many features can quickly clutter an interface, making it difficult for users to navigate. The problem, as many psychological researchers have learned over the years, is that most people simply can’t multitask effectively. Our brains just aren’t wired that way.
As a result, users have a tendency to gloss over large sections of complicated apps, and may be worse at focusing on one action or retaining information. They won’t be using the app to its full potential, and some will stop using it altogether.
An article in Forbes suggests following Hick’s Law, which states that a person’s response time increases linearly with the number of options available to them. So, simplify, simplify. UX designers need to ask themselves what they would focus on if they could only focus on one thing. This may even require splitting an existing app into multiple products.
A great example of this concept being put into practice is Facebook Messenger. Messenger used to be a service built in to the main Facebook app itself, but it was sluggish and distracted from the main experience of browsing.
Once Facebook separated Messenger into a standalone app, the designers were able to create something that was much more focused on a core goal: sending messages quickly and easily. Now, usage numbers for the product are higher than ever.
Remember, most users just want a product that works. Focused user experience design can give them what they are looking for.