I'm building a site that (in simple words) is Twitter for people who write fiction.

Screenshot of the front page (to give you an idea):

enter image description here

I've been coding it and designing it myself (around six months ago).

I've considered that in the first launch, there won't be many users. So I'm planning to leave out the following features:

  • Full screen for reading and writing (Not sure how important is this one, but since it is relatively easy to do, I'm considering implementing it).
  • Mobile version of the site (I figure out that users would like to read from their phone/tablets but, not sure if this is a priority).
  • Facebook-like notifications (Not sure if this will be really necessary since there won't be many users at the beginning).

Are they (relatively) valid assumption?

  • 2
    I think you're on the right path with the mindset of narrowing down your feature set making sure that you have a few features working well rather than a wide set of features that are wonky. If the ones you listed are the correct ones however is far too complex to give an objective point on. Commented Jan 7, 2013 at 9:30
  • Why do you want to leave any of these features out? I assume it's because of time restrictions so you need to trim the feature-list initially?
    – JonW
    Commented Jan 7, 2013 at 9:32
  • @JonW I want to launch it as an MVP(minimum viable product). I don't want to add a bunch of features and then realize that people is not using the site at all.
    – wyc
    Commented Jan 7, 2013 at 9:48
  • 2
    @janoChen OK, I've edited the question title to make it clearer what you're asking. Feel free to amend if it's not correct, but the title wasn't clear enough when viewing on the front-page.
    – JonW
    Commented Jan 7, 2013 at 10:01

2 Answers 2


alexeypegov's answer is excellent and I would strongly recommend interviewing your potential user base about what the features they would anticipate in a product like yours. However since users might not always be aware of what features they might find useful, it will also be really useful if you perform some basic usability and feature analysis tests with some low fidelity prototypes to see how your users use the system . Also since you are looking at this product as a Minimum viable product, be careful that you dont miss out on small but related things which might not seem significant in the short run but can ruin the user experience in the long run if they are missed or left (e.g. a password reset or a way to update their email address) .

I recommend reading this article on 37 signals What happens to user experience in a minimum viable product?. To quote the article

Does the minimum-viable approach lead to gaps in the user experience? It doesn’t have to. There’s a distinction to make: The set of features you choose to build is one thing. The level you choose to execute at is another. You can decide whether or not to include a feature like ‘reset password’. But if you decide to do it, you should live up to a basic standard of execution on the experience side.

Features can be different sizes with more or less complexity, but quality of experience should be constant across all features. That constant quality of experience is what gives your customers trust. It demonstrates to them that whatever you build, you build well.

I also recommend looking at this slideshare presentation The UX of minimum viable products

  • 37 Signals writes a lot about MVP and releasing something the second you have something to show for it. Their books Rework and Getting Real (especially Getting Real) are pretty much about this thing exactly.
    – NotSimon
    Commented Jan 7, 2013 at 18:58

The best way for you to find out which features should be included in MVP is to interview your target audience (and show them mockups, sketches, prototypes, etc) about the features they want to get at the first place.

Interviews are really powerful tool to get more knowledge about your users so don't ignore them.

We're not your target audience so things we'll assume useful or useless may not represent the real situation so you should treat these recommendations (if any) very careful.

There is a really nice book Running Lean: Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works which also describes user interviews in details.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.