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Make Features Successful

Amidst the furore of scoping, specing and developing features, the very often forgotten aspect of building products is making those features successful.

In my experience, I’ve seen the builders be usually preoccupied with detailing out the feature and the execution of it, but seldom with the concerns of how they’ll make the feature successful. This is natural though – it’s difficult to see an issue here because the people who’re mired with the details of the feature do not think from the point of view of the unassuming user – the user who has no idea what you’re working on.

But when the feature you worked so hard on launches, it’s often met with indifference – the worst potential outcome.

Having seen enough of these cycles, I have arrived at a 4-part framework to combat this:

The feature success framework

I call this framework ADORE: Awareness, Discovery, Onboarding, and Recall.

  • Awareness: How will the user come to know about this feature? This is a huge pain point. When we speak with our users, we realise that most haven’t heard of this monumental feature we just shipped a couple of weeks ago. We haven’t gotten the message across to them.

  • Discovery: How will the user find the feature in the product? The user saw your announcement and now wants to use the feature. They’re interested, but can they find where the feature is in the product? How is your IA in the product facilitating the discovery of a new thing that launched?

  • Onboarding: How will the user learn how to use the feature? The user is interested in the feature and has reached the starting point. How will you explain the flow to them? How will you show them how to get value out of this feature and address their needs?

  • Recall: Will the user remember to use the feature when they have the need? The user tried the feature once, liked it and moved on. Now they should be using it more often since it provided them value, but they’ve likely forgotten. How will you make your feature meet them when and where the need is? How will you gradually makes their own recall strong that they interact with the feature on their own?

Feature adoption and ensuring its successful usage are often ignored, but are critical parts of the builders’ job. They need to be actively addressed once the core of the feature is complete.

This easy to remember framework has been helpful in thinking through exactly that.