Does your website have feature bloat?

May 24, 2015

In software development, feature bloat is where an application has so many optional or additional features that it causes the app to use more memory and disk space than is necessary and also makes the core features more difficult to use. By trying to do everything for everybody the app can get to the point where it doesn’t do anything for anybody particularly well.

The same principle can apply to websites too. Perhaps you’ve seen companies that try to jump onto a new trend and add new features to their website in the hope that it will attract new customers, but in reality it can make the important parts of the website get lost. Visitors to a website have a limited amount of attention they can give and if they can’t quickly pick out what they are interested in and decide which link to follow, perhaps they will abandon your website and go elsewhere.

The key to reducing feature bloat is selecting features that are most appropriate to your product or service. Here are some examples of what to think about when you select features for your website:

If you only sell a handfull of products then do you need complicated searching, sorting and filtering options?

Is social media sharing appropriate on a website that sells products people are unlikely to want to tell people that they are looking at?

Online chat on a website seems like a great idea to communicate with your customers, but if you are only available to reply to conversations for a few hours a day then it perhaps isn’t worthwhile.

Tidying the content within your website can make it much easier for visitors to find what is most relevant to them. A good copywriter will help you get quality over quantity. Remember that if you remove any pages while tidying your website content, then you should put redirects in place. Read this post to learn more about web page redirects.

So talk to your customers and try to understand what they want from your website. Perhaps there are some features or content you can remove that will help improve the website performance.