UIEtips: Experience Rot

Jared Spool

May 29th, 2013

In this week’s UIEtips, I explain the dangerous effects of experience rot on user experience.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Here’s a counter-intuitive fact: Chances are all those features you’ve been adding to your design are hurting your user experience. Every feature that’s squeezed in, in the name of giving your design a competitive edge, has been making your design less competitive.

Welcome to the effects of Experience Rot. As you add features, you’re adding complexity to the design, and decreasing the quality of the experience.

Pick up any modern TV remote and you’ll immediately see the problem of experience rot. On/Off, volume and channel selectors are no longer enough. We need to switch devices, control captions, have a text capability for on-screen editing, a thumbs-up and thumbs-down for ratings, pause, record, slow motion, rewind, 30-second rewind, and, well, you see the effects. The complexity never ends, it never gets simpler, and it’s never delightful.

Read the article: Experience Rot

What have you done to prevent experience rot? Tell us about it below.

4 Responses to “UIEtips: Experience Rot”

  1. Jeff Kirkwold Says:

    Jared,

    Are you possibly covertly suggesting there is something amiss with the Agile Process and Minimal Viable Products(MVP)? Does one take away from your thoughts that Lean UX and MVP struggle to find a balance? Most methods of Lean/Agile consider taking a 1.0 product (that should be considered an MVP on release) and adding new features to it. Does the notion of a 1.0 MVP assume that any additional features MAY add to rot?

  2. Jared Spool Says:

    Jeff,

    MVPs, when used to test a hypothesis, work fine. MVPs, when considered the actual final product, are problematic.

  3. Niels Matthijs Says:

    Then again, I’d take experience rot over feature drought every time. On mobile you need a 1000 apps to accomplish nothing. Each one of those apps is designed to do one thing, competes with 20 other apps that do exactly the same and is not designed to work together with the other 999 apps.

    Sometimes the all-in-one just is a lot faster and easier, even if it’s harder to use.

  4. Brad Says:

    Great article. I have experienced this whilst working on many projects and would usually call it feature creeping; your phrase has greater accuracy.

    Saying no is a good solution but I feel in a team environment you may be overruled, or may be the only individual to realize what is occurring. Any advice for that situation?

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