“Small is Big” – Of User Intent and How Great Products are Built on Small Features

Product Management is all about attention to detail and if you are an entrepreneur building that one big product, which can change the world, think of small features (sometimes, they are too small to be called features – they are mere utilities) that immensely enhances the user experience.

One of the main reasons why users prefer one product over the other is trust – and you don’t gain trust by putting up your uptime numbers. You gain trust by helping your users in their decision, by helping them to not commit mistakes when they are using the product. You gain immense trust when your product exactly understands the user intent and is a ‘F**king Cool” experience

Here are few examples from Google which reinforces the belief that ‘small is big’.

Chrome – ‘Paste and Go’

You copy a URL and paste that on Chrome’s address box. Google saves you an extra click with ‘Paste and Go’ option. Your intent of copying and pasting the url is pretty clear – so why not help you achieve the same?

Google Chrome - Paste and Go
Google Chrome - Paste and Go

Gmail – “Report Spam” for any of the google group email

Public Google groups are open to spammers and once in a while spammers will send out ‘viagra’, ‘earn money’ email. So what do you do? Report them as spam?

And what if you want to unsubscribe from a group which has been taken over by spammers?

Here is what Gmail does (ofcourse, only for googlegroups emails)

Gmail presents couple of options, i.e. whether you want to auto-unsubscribe from the group, report the message as spam. Again, saves one click.

Google Groups - Report Spam Feature
Google Groups - Report Spam Feature

Similarly, if you have multiple attachments in your email, Gmail offers ‘download as zip’ file – saves many clicks and is a god-send feature (which is now being copied by all other email clients).

Chrome – ‘Paste and Search’

You copy a URL and paste that on Chrome’s address box. Google saves you an extra click with ‘Paste and Search’ option.

After all, your intent of copying and paste a text is to search for it.

Google Chrome - Paste and Search
Google Chrome - Paste and Search

Great products are built on user intent and it’s not just those big feature that counts, it’s those small utilities that enhances one’s experience and increases the stickiness of the product. Tthere is an element of serendipity in these features, they are there when you need them (and are invisible otherwise).

What really happens during product development process is that these small features are often de-prioritized and eventually lose out to grand features – so think twice before you move them from P2 to P3 (and finally, out of the roadmap).

What’s your opinion?

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