Every Choice Comes With a Cost
John August makes a very interesting point about the cost of adding features to a product and highlights a typical reaction from users.
Ultimately, every choice comes with a cost. Adding landscape to the iPhone isn’t impossible, but it means not doing something else, and right now the many “something elses” are worth a lot more.
I have to make this type of decision on an almost daily basis. These are really tough decisions to make. The benefits you get from making these difficult decisions are not often apparent to your users.
When a feature is missing, most people's first reaction is to complain or to assume that the designers simply don't understand what the users need.
I've found that if I spend time with users explaining the reasoning behind these decisions and illustrate the resulting overall benefit to the product, they often agree - even if they would really still prefer their feature to be in there instead of others.
It's unrealistic to expect users to understand the development process, or to sympathise when a product that they pay for is missing features that they rely on, but I hope that articles like this reach a wider audience and inspire people to put just a little more trust in product designers.