Igor Freeke, an interaction designer on my current project commended to me the book The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity, 2nd Edition“ by Alan Cooper.
I really liked the book and used several examples from his book in writing guidelines to develop a RUP Vision document. In the RUP Vision document, product features are listed.
As Alan Cooper states in his book “You cannot simply achieve your goals by using feature lists as a problem solving tool. It is quite possible to satisfy each feature item on the list and still hatch a catastrophe.“ He references a test that interaction designer Scott McGregor uses in his classes to prove this
- Internal combustion engine
- Four wheels with rubber tires
- A transmission connecting the engine to the drive wheels
- Engine and transmission mounted on metal chassis
- A steering wheel
By this time, every student will have written down their positive identification of the product as an automobile, where upon Scott will cease using features to describe the product and instead mention a couple of user goals.
- Cuts grass quickly and easily
- Comfortable to sit on
Alan Cooper concludes: “ You can see how much more descriptive goals are than features.”.
I agree on that.