As a developer, I often face a dilemma: should I spend more time and effort on optimizing the user experience of a feature, or should I move on to the next task and deliver more functionality? This is a question that I’m sure many developers can relate to, and I want to share my thoughts and experience on this topic.
Currently I'm implementing a certain feature and I wonder if the effort I spent on it is worth it. The basic functionality of the feature was implemented after roughly 100 hours, and I could have finalized it in about 150 hours. However, I decided to go the extra mile and make the feature more user-friendly and convenient. This involved adding some additional steps, such as removing redundant actions, automating some processes, and providing helpful feedback to the user.
The result is a feature that is not only functional, but also enjoyable to use.
The problem is, this optimization takes me another 150 hours, bringing the total time spent on the feature to 300 hours. That’s twice as much compared to the functional version. Why did I do this?
There were times when I felt frustrated and exhausted by the development process. The progress was slow, and the improvements were subtle. I wondered if it is worth it to spend so much time on something that most users might not even notice or appreciate. I thought about giving up and moving on to the next feature, which would probably be more visible and impactful.
But then I reminded myself of the reasons why I chose to optimize the user experience in the first place. I wanted to create a feature that would not only solve a problem, but also delight the user. I wanted to make the user’s life easier and more enjoyable, not just more productive. I wanted to show that I care about the user and their needs, not just about the functionality and the deadline. I wanted to create something that I would be proud of and that would reflect my passion and professionalism.
And as I continued to work on the feature, I started to see the results of my efforts. The feature became smoother, faster, and more intuitive.
This made me realize that yes, it is worth it to optimize the user experience. It is worth it to spend 150 additional hours once, rather than having 200 users spend 3 additional hours over time. It is worth it to create something that would make a difference, not just something that would work.
Of course, this does not mean that I will always spend twice as much time on every feature. There are trade-offs and constraints that need to be considered, such as budget, timeline, scope, and priority. Sometimes, it might be more beneficial to deliver more features with less optimization, depending on the context and the goals. But other times, it might be more valuable to deliver fewer features with more optimization, especially if they are core or critical features that affect the user’s satisfaction and loyalty.
The key is to find the right balance between functionality and user experience, and to make informed and intentional decisions based on the user’s needs and expectations. This is not always easy, but it is always rewarding.
What do you think? Is it better to improve the user experience and spend a significant amount of time, or would it be better to spend the time on additional features that are less usable? I would love to hear your opinions and experiences in the comments below.
Tschüss and Goodbye!