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Seb Schmoller :: Blog :: Feature Richness and User Engagement

August 10, 2007

Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox may not be widely read in the Emerge community. The 6/8/2007 edition is about "Feature Richness and User Engagement".

Summary: The more engaged users are, the more features an application can sustain. But most users have low commitment - especially to websites, which must focus on simplicity, rather than features.

Location: http://www.useit.com/alertbox/features.html, from where you can also find a lot of other material about, for example, usability testing. Neilsen has an abrasive style, but this is worth putting up with.


Overview for Keywords: Jakob Nielsen, Usability, User engagement

Blogs with Keywords: Jakob Nielsen, Usability, User engagement

Posted by Seb Schmoller


  1. Thanks, Seb

    Neilsen is useful. I am not sure whether this analysis stands up for the big SN sites (mySpace, FaceBook, LiveJournal). There the Amazon- and eBay-type engagement might be more in evidence where users are willing to endure a little difficulty for a greater reward. But for most of us mortals, the adage to pursue simplicity at all cost strikes me as sound.

    George RobertsGeorge Roberts on Friday, 10 August 2007, 11:52 UTC # |

  2. I think Nielsen (or possibly Tog) wrote about the anomaly there - it would appear to be a successful first-mover effect. The concept is new enough that the clunky interface is something users are willing to overcome for the reward. e.g. In Amazon's case, the first serious online bookstore; in LJs the first community blogging space.

    However, if you're not the first site on the block, perhaps then Nielsen's assertion holds weight - you need a small set of killer features, not a competing suite, in order to overcome the inertia of less committed users. I think the NintendoDS and Wii are clever examples in the product space - the hardcore high-commitment gamers are already pre-ordering their PS3s and Xbox360's, so go after the low-commitment non-gamers as your market, and go for a very simple (but clever) design and concept.

    Any newcomer to the SN space either has to go into a niche, or aim at a wider, lower commitment audience. 

    Scott WilsonScott Wilson on Monday, 13 August 2007, 11:15 UTC # |

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