One of my clients use a voting system like GetSatisfaction to collect feature requests from users. But I, as a Product consultant, don't really insist in executing the most voted feature as the same might not be 'absolutely essential' in getting desired ROI.

Do you agree? If yes then how to select which feature to implement?

  • 2
    This Steve Jobs quote seems appropriate :): "You can't just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they'll want something new."
    – icc97
    Nov 17, 2015 at 22:54
  • 3
    Or the Henry Ford one, "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses" Nov 18, 2015 at 6:00

3 Answers 3


UX isn't just about doing what the user wants, or even what the user needs. Good UX requires taking many elements into consideration.

For example:

Business Requirements - Does this requirement help achieve any measurable business benefit? Does giving every customer a free cup of coffee directly increase the number of actual sales you make?

Technical Limitations - What can technically be achieved within the infrastructure / environment / platform / framework. If you have an iPhone app, then it doesn't really matter if all the users want 3D holograms. It ain't going to happen.

Budgetary Restrictions - How much money does the client have available? Do they have available resource (i.e. designers, developers, project managers...) to even produce it? - 1 hour delivery by helicopter is a great idea. I doubt many (any) companies can afford that though.

User Benefit - Does the requirement give any measurable benefit to the end user? - Changing the colour from red to burgandy might be something many people suggest. But who is that actually helping?

A lot of this is around measurability. Sure, it's nice to have some cool feature built on your website, but if there's no way to gauge the impact of that feature then you might have wasted your time building it. Did it bring more people to your site / app? Have you gained more sales?

If the requirement has a measurable benefit to the business, if it is cost-effective to produce, can be developed within the existing environment and gives a benefit to the end user then that makes it a valid requirement. If it's just something cool that lots of users want, then it's less so.


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

The closer to the centre of this Venn (Euler?) diagram you can get, the more important that requirement is to get live.

  • Nice! That's what my point is (if you see my query above). At the end of the day it's the ROI that matters the most. Do you suggest any excel format/or some other solutions that may solve the query?
    – Ramnath
    Nov 17, 2015 at 15:16
  • I don't think there is any mathematical formula to follow here, unfortunately. Many things are difficult to quantify precisely. You just have to make a solid, somewhat subjective case for the decisions
    – JonW
    Nov 17, 2015 at 15:35
  • It's a Venn diagram.
    – Ludwik
    Nov 17, 2015 at 17:51
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    @Ludwik all I'm saying is that this diagram doesn't allow for the option of something that is both a business benefit and technically feasible but is not also a user need/within budget. Wikipedia actually has a pretty good write up. And touche re: username. =P Nov 17, 2015 at 19:25
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    @JonW I took a stab at it, it was surprisingly harder than I expected (can you really not rotate ovals? That makes me sad). Not as pretty but technically correct - the best kind of correct. Nov 17, 2015 at 21:43

A successful product should be viable, feasible, useful and likable. The voting system ignores the viable and feasible dimensions of the product. Also, many users do not know which features will actually be useful. The voting system can help you determine only the likable dimension.

I recommend you to create a coefficient based on the dimensions of feasibility, viability and usefulness for each feature. Multiply the votes with the coefficient, and then select the highest rank. Display the coefficient to users and explain to them the selection process.


In general I like to select features that support the users' tasks. What are people trying to accomplish here? How can we make those things easier to accomplish? What hurdles can we eliminate? (In other words, what features can we get rid of?)

In my mind, user tasks trump the client's requests ("requirements") and even the things the user specifically asks for. Of course, this means getting to know users and their tasks. Observation is the best way to do this, better than surveys or interviews.

(It's surprising how many feature requests from clients get directly in the way of the users' tasks.)

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