A content website that has been live for any length of time will contain feature bloat: editorial modules, revenue features, social doo-dads and third party widgets etc. If you talk to the right stakeholder, EVERY feature on a website is “vital” but how many really are? Removing features can dramatically improve site engagement metrics by improving load performance and removing user friction. That sounds logical but reduction is not an easy pathway for organizations to follow. It is not easy to reduce in art and it is not easy to reduce in business. There are a lot of people involved in a website who feel their existence will be threatened if various pet features are no longer on the site. Feature trim is a useful exercise that should be conducted during redesign but rarely is. Most major redesigns I have participated take an existing feature set almost as a given and then add a new layer of stuff on top of that making it very unlikely the new site will perform better by any metric. The only way to do away with this type of “redesign” is to go back to the numbers and make every existing feature prove its usefulness by data only. If there is any doubt, the feature should be out. Nothing personal.
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