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Features Do Not Equal Better Experiences

There is confusion around associating more or better features with a better user experience. This is a myth. A better experience is about what makes users happier – more efficient, enjoyable, and sometimes simpler. Branch has done just that.

I was invited to branch back in August, 2012 when I received a direct message on Twitter asking to contribute to a branch. Since then, I’ve engaged in a number of conversations on this site both through starting my own or through an invitation from a friend. In the past few months, I noticed a number of new features. At first it was exciting to see this small site growing in opportunities to connect with people. But as a user, I quickly grew tired and really just ignored these features and extra navigation options to focus on what I wanted to use branch for: extending social conversations.

Today, I was delighted to discover a re-envisioned branch. They scaled back all the features I didn’t use, the noise, and simplified to the features I cared about. This is a great reminder to anyone who works to create products: products aren’t about features, it’s about users and what they want, need, and will use. Anything else is noise and garbage.

In a blog post from branch today “Toward a Simpler, Better Branch,” Josh Miller writes:

Over the last few months, we’ve spent time adding features to this simple tool: features like groups, a notification drawer, ask-to-join, and “branching.” But we’ve also spent time listening, and when we did, we heard that while these features make having conversations easier and more delightful, they also make Branch more complicated. And that’s the last thing we wanted to do.

This is what product design is about: listening to your users and making your product better. Ultimately, we want to build things that users will praise us for – writing a 5 star app store review, a tweet, a conversation with a friend, or writing a blog post just like this one.

Well done, branch. Thank you for the great product!

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