When you are building a site for a client, and they ask for a feature that will be complicated or time-consuming to build, or make the UI harder to use, you can push back on it. If they then insist on the addition and are happy to pay for it, you build it. After all, it’s their project. If it adds extra complexity, they are the ones who have to live with it.
With a product used out of the box by thousands of customers, adding every suggestion is impossible. What seems intuitive to one user baffles another. Adding too many tiny features aimed at meeting very exact requirements soon leads to a complex and confusing UI and adds to the time it takes to get up to speed on the product. This is especially important with my own product, as one of our core values is simplicity. In this column I outline some of the key things we have learned while adding features to Perch over the last five and a half years.