There is no time for perfection
15 October 2019
For years I was always the one who wasn’t 100% satisfied with the end result. When it was possible, I wanted 120%. And I always found something that (I thought) could be better.
I had to realize that this probably wasn't the best way to go and I'm trying to remind myself about this every time I'm working on something new.
I spent hours and days tweaking around with layouts to make sure that they are pixel perfect in every browser and on every device. This changed when I realized that most of the users don't give a 💩 about that. I was watching how they used my product and didn’t really care if something was off the grid by 20 pixels. But it bothered them if they couldn’t find the button they were looking for.
Another thing that was eye-opening for me is when I saw that "crappy" design worked much better than a fancy one. Again, users didn't care about the shadows, rounded borders, and gradients, it was more important to them to easily find what they were looking for and the tool did what they expected to do.
I think I’m still waiting too long before going live with a product but I’m much closer to the ideal state than I was a few years ago.
Now, these are the rules I’m trying to follow when I’m building a product:
- For version 1, add only mandatory functions to the product. Nice to have features should go to the backlog for a future release.
- Building the core features of a product couldn’t take more than a month.
- Unique design is not necessary, go with a UI kit, a template, a framework or use elements from previous products.
- Animations are nice, but only use them if they are necessary or can help to understand how the product works.
- Handle and log edge cases but don’t display a different error message for all of them.
- Make it easy to find how to get help or send feedback.
- Do at least 1 real user test before launch.
For me the first 3 rules are the most important as I always have a new idea for a feature that would make the product “much better”. In most cases these are the features that only 1% of my users will ever find or use. And the situation is the same with design. I eagerly want to create something new and fancy every time.
I know that in some cases unique design could be a great selling point, but if I'm honest, this is not the case with the tools I'm building.
Following these rules can help me to identify the real value of my product and I can focus on that instead of playing around with hover and click animations.
Sometimes I'm weak and I feel the need to try something I saw on Dribbble 😅
But the real point is that I don't think a good, pixel perfect, fancy design would sell a product if the product itself doesn't solve a real issue.
Anyway, I'm still looking for an issue I can solve with a great product. I just cleaned the list of my ideas (again) to make sure I won't start to work on something I don't really believe in.