That discovery brought us to a difficult crossroads. We basically had two options in front of us:
- Double down on timers and add more functionality to them.
- Remove the feature completely.
After a long deliberation, we made the hard decision to remove timers from TimeTune 😥 (Note: we won’t be removing timers until December 2019).
But if you keep reading you’ll see why this will be good for the project in the long run 🙀
Additionally, if you have to deal with any kind of product with features in your daily job (either a software product or not), you may find valuable insights in the article too.
DID TIMERS FIT OUR MAIN PURPOSE?
When you have doubts about a feature in your product, the first question you should ask yourself is ‘Does this feature really contribute to the main purpose of my product?’.
In our case, the main goal in TimeTune is to help you improve your distribution of time so you can be more productive. But sadly, timers did not contribute to that.
Timers in TimeTune were just a different way to set a reminder, where instead of choosing a specific time we chose a duration. This may be a handy tool sometimes, but it doesn’t help us optimize our distribution of time.
The worst part of keeping a minor feature in your product is that it will steal time and focus from your main goal. In the end, the whole product will suffer.
LESS, BUT BETTER
The quote means that good products do just one thing, but they excel at it. They have a single value proposition and all their features contribute harmoniously to it.
If you ignore this principle and add too many features, your product may become a Swiss Army knife. Attractive at first but impractical for any serious purposes.
If you’re interested in knowing more, you’ll find a very good article on how to apply this principle to UX design here.
COGNITIVE LOAD AND COMPLEXITY
Even after changing TimeTune’s onboarding process a few weeks ago, we still receive periodic reviews from first-time users saying that they find the app difficult and non-intuitive.
Many factors contribute to that, and one of them is seeing too many features at once.
Our minds like simple things. Intuitive things that can be understood at first glance. If we make our minds think too much before using a product, they may end up rejecting the product altogether.
Removing timers from TimeTune is a small change in the whole design, but it will help us reduce cognitive load and app complexity.
WHEN ONE DOOR CLOSES, ANOTHER OPENS
Removing a feature doesn’t necessarily mean that the feature is lost forever.
For example, timers could reappear in TimeTune with a different shape. They could be added as a count-down clock for routine activities or even for events ⏳
Additionally, we’re open to the possibility of creating an app just for timers, with better and more powerful features. If there’s enough demand, we’ll definitely consider the idea! 📢
So if you’re thinking about removing a feature from your product, don’t think of it just as a loss. You’re effectively increasing the value proposition of the product and you’re opening the door to better features and new products.
Although it’s hard to see a feature disappear, sometimes it’s the best thing you can do for your product.
In our case, removing timers was necessary. That will allow us to focus on our main goal and make TimeTune better.
Finally, if you were a power user of timers, we have a question for you: are there any timer features that you cannot find in other apps?
If there are, let us know. We may end up creating an app for that! 😉