guerillagirl – user experience designer

guerillagirl's (ux) design journal

Goals vs Features in Product Design

So well & simply explained: This quote from Alan Coopers book “The inmates are running the asylum“ on why goals are more descriptive than describing features should be printed postersize!

„It might be counter-intuitive in our feature-conscious world, but you simply cannot achieve your goals by using features lists as a problem solving tool. It’s quite possible to satisfy every feature on the list and still hatch a catastrophe. Interaction designer Scott McGregor uses a delightful test in his classes to prove this point. He describes a product with a list of features, asking his class to write down what the product is as soon as they can guess. He begins with 1) internal combustion engine; 2) four wheels with rubber tires; 3) a transmission connecting the engine to the drive wheels; 4) engine and transmission mounted on a metal chassis; 5) a steering wheel. By this time every student will have written down his or her positive identification of the product as an automobile, whereupon Scott ceases using features to desrcibe the product and instead mentions a couple of user goals: 6) cuts grass quickly and easily; 7) comfortable to sit on. From the five feature clues not one student will have written down ‘riding lawnmower’. You can see how much more descriptive goals are then features”

Cooper, A.(1999) The Inmates are Running the Asylum. Why High-Tech Products Drive us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity


Comments are closed.