Balancing Features vs. Ease of Use

There's some interesting discussion going on here about a few members' feeling that RIA may be going through "feature creep" - the state of adding so many features that the overall usability of the site goes down.

Please sound off on this... I want to hear what you think.

There's a delicate balance between providing folks with cool features, and cluttering things up. The goal would be to provide those users who like the bells & whistles with enough things to keep them occupied, without losing track of our core focus of being a ratings community.

Kamylienne, a long time member, writes that:

"I think what it all boils down to is identity: What direction does RIA want to take? Does it want to focus more on the "ratings" aspect of it, or the "online community" aspect?"

I actually don't think that this is the choice. I don't think that RIA would be nearly as fun without the pure community type features - user profiles, messaging, testimonials, etc. But I do think that identity IS the question. But I see the fork as being: "Does RateItAll want to be a useful site first, that can be fun, or a fun site first, that can be useful."

I've been putting a lot of thought into this recently, and I think it's something that may need to be addressed.

As I mentioned earlier, there are no more major features on the docket for a while... just about everything from here on out will be focused on tightening things up.

But if we need to remove some features, we're prepared to do so.


  1. A little clarification:

    In my schpiel, "Focus" does not mean that "fun" and "function" are mutually exclusive. It's a matter of balance.

    I can't say what RIA ought to be/ought not to be, because it's not mine to mold. But, if I'm asked what I'm looking for, I gotta say it's kinda like this burrito joint I'm rather fond of.

    It's a fast food place, true, but it does its own thing. It doesn't cling to what's popular everywhere else (*cough* McDonald's). Not to say that they don't use lettuce and tomato, but they don't follow trends like happy meals and cheap, unidentifible meat. And, yeah, they pack a whole lotta stuff in that burrito. They've got all these ingredients of really good quality, and they put them in at the right amounts that each feature stands out, but at the same time doesn't overpower everything else. And, it's all wrapped in a nice, neat tortilla. It doesn't burst at the seams to spill out a mass of mixed (yet tasty) goo.

    Where am I going with all this? I dunno, maybe I'm hungry. But, that's beside the point: so far, for me, RIA's a damn good burrito, erm, website. And the quality's there. Only thing is, it's getting pretty big to handle, and I'm not sure if I'm working with a burrito, or if it's about to drop out on me and end up being something more like a taco salad (minus the hard tortillas).

    I know the current RIA's in the process of editing, though, and it's not going to stay this visually congested. At this point, it's a matter of sitting back and seeing what ingredients are pulled or tweaked ( . . . like the burrito joint, they've changed their multi-colored chips to just white ones recently . . . . okay, I'll stop it with the burritos now), and waiting for the dust to settle to see what the final product's gonna be.

  2. Finally, some terminology that I understand. Thanks!