Why Your Next App Will Fail

Yes, But This One Goes To Eleven

If you’re developing an application for the masses, there are several things to consider when road-mapping it’s functionality and features.

It’s a common mindset to think you have to offer more than your competitors in order to be better. People want more right? Wrong. People (most of them) don’t know what they want. Psychologist and Author of The Paradox of Choice says that people, confronted with a large pool of options will be less satisfied with a decision. The more options there are, the higher their expectation. So even if they have made the best possible choice, their satisfaction level has by default, dropped.

We can apply this same rationale to our application design at an early stage. We’re not talking about eliminating core functionality, or even dropping the “bells and whistles” but taking a step back and asking whether or not the, “Wouldn’t it be cool if…” is worth the added complexity to what the end user is going to actually use.

Too Many Chefs In The Kitchen

Another reason your application will die a fiery death is that most of us (designers and developers) need approvals. More often than not these approvals come from people who are either ignorant, afraid, or stubborn. Ignorant of what’s been proven or possible, afraid of failure or too stubborn to think that there might be someone who knows more than them. I’m sure most of you are thinking of someone right now aren’t you?

If you are one of said chefs, and you aren’t open to listening to and considering input from your peers, your product is doomed to fail and my suggestion to you is to either open your mind, or find a new profession. Perhaps a prison warden or a S&M phone sex operator. That way you either have a captive audience that has no choice but to do what you say, or you have people paying you to belittle them.

Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

Some of us have the luxury of not being burdened by deadlines. However a vast majority are perpetually cognizant of launch dates. Sometimes these time frames are so tight, that we are forced to cut corners. These sacrifices can range from clean coding, UI design and even usability testing. We’re not saying that we can’t iterate after the fact, but first impressions are crucial and a bad initial experience can crush even the most brilliant project.


The next time you end up at one of these roadblocks, consider the actions you’re taking to remedy the situation? If all you are doing is complaining about the hurdles, to see the failure you need look no further than a mirror.

We are hard-coded with the desire to do the best we can. No one sets out to fail. We need to continually educate ourselves with facts and information to consider success, but even then there is no guarantee.

  • Make sure your features are necessary.
  • Educate yourself to justify your argument with decision makers.
  • Be realistic with how long it takes to accomplish tasks.
  • There’s nothing wrong with launching a great product that can get better. By taking careful consideration to avoid these potential pitfalls, we bring ourselves one step closer to making sure your next app doesn’t fail.

    Jeff is a Sr. Art Director at HSN.com. When he isn’t being an evangelist of User Experience, UI Design and Best Usability Practices you can find him floating around the Twittersphere or perpetually tweaking his WordPress Blog.
    Follow on Twitter: @fuelyourapps | @inetwebguy


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