9

When you have an app with features that do not exist or are not production ready yet, is it ok to include the action element (example: a button) that will display a coming soon dialog or page when clicked? Or is it better to hide the element completely?

For example you have a link that says something like "Compare Data", and when the user clicks the link they are presented a dialog that says "This feature is coming soon!".

My Thoughts on displaying a coming soon page:

Pros - Provides the opportunity to advertise the feature and get users interested in it.

Cons - Users expect the link to allow them to compare data and may have noticed and counted on this function prior to using the app. Thus negatively impacting the user's experience.

I should note that I am asking in the application of an MVP product in early Alpha or Beta stages where it's important to advertise certain features to early adopters.

  • why advertise something they cannot access? Also, what if there are delays and it sits around for a while – CobaltHex Apr 22 '16 at 19:39
  • @CobaltHex, I've appended to the question. I'd like to advertise the features because the specific app in question would be an early Alpha or Beta model where users are primarily early adopters. I'd like to advertise some of the competitive advantages of the app before they are ready. Good point on the delay aspect; I hadn't considered that. – cbronson Apr 22 '16 at 19:43
  • 2
    I still think that perhaps something like a blog post or article somewhere detailing future features would be preferable. Having a placeholder takes up space, and can sometimes be a nuisance if prominent enough – CobaltHex Apr 22 '16 at 19:46
2

The answer is rather subjective and depends on what those features are.

For example, if your app is in the MVP or Alpha stage and lacks important functionality such as Checking Sent Items in a Mail App.

If your app lacks this feature and you decide to have an Action for it, saying Sent Items and show a message there that this feature is coming soon - It will definitely lead to disappointment.

I believe the "Feature Coming Soon" path should be taken in the following cases:

  1. Your app's current version does not feel incomplete without that feature.

  2. The feature should not be a revolutionary feature that changes the way Users use your app and should be something that need not be explained further. For example: New Emoji's Coming Soon!

  3. Your feature should not have mixed reactions in the communities. It should be well tested and ready to deploy in the coming week or two.

  4. Feature should be a part of the minor update. Not a version jump from v1.0 to v2.0. Instead of dropping hints of the feature coming soon, in case of a version jump, it's better to do a Press release.

  5. Feature should be well anticipated or gimmicky - that doesn't affect the usage of the app. For example, Facebook's Profile Video feature was hinted while changing the profile picture.

  • 1
    I agree with point 5 most of all: If users keep asking for a certain feature, they spend time writing requests and you spend time answering them. It would be nice to show up front that you're working on that feature, which will save both you and the customer time. – Stephan Bijzitter Apr 23 '16 at 23:38
3

There's a big difference depending on how you do this.

Frustration

As you mention (just a link, and when they click the user finds out the feature doesn't exist yet) will probably create a lot of frustration and the potential loss of the visitor.

Anticipation

However, NOT HIDING it, but making it a prominent part of a page, will create a sense of intrigue and anticipation, something your users may want to wait for and check at a later time.

Example

A very good example is Harry's campaign.

You can read how they did it and the kind of success they had. They simply anticipated something they didn't have, and added a subscribe box. As simple as that, really nothing else (well, some back end tricks but you'll need to read the article if interested).

...but don't be too vague

It's a good idea to have some kind of ETA. While a subscribe mailing is a great tool, it may turn against you if the user perceives you only wanted to grab mails, so adding some kind of realistic expectation will help you a lot, and you may have people not willing to be spammed coming at a later time. An example would be something like this:

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

  • Thank you for your answer! The examples you provided, however, seem like what would be used if the entire app/website was pending release. Can this strategy be applied to specific features of an already deployed application? – cbronson Apr 22 '16 at 22:02
  • Of course, but it will depend on your design. as long as it's prominently featured, you should be fine, just don't hide it. Think of Apple announcing their products before release, or even Bootstrap 4 which has been announced on the site for more than a year: they're just creating antcipation, but the product or feature doesn't exist yet – Devin Apr 22 '16 at 23:58

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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