title:Feature Overload author:Iggy Quazi source_url:http://www.articlecity.com/articles/gadgets_and_gizmos/article_515.shtml date_saved:2007-07-25 12:30:10 category:gadgets_and_gizmos article:

Have you ever thought that everything seems to be so complicated today, especially with hi-tech products?
Digital cameras take movies and act as voice recorders, PDA’s play music and films and our mobile phones take pictures, have a built in torch, sharpen knives and mow the lawn – all by voice command! Or, that’s what we are lead to believe as consumers, from all the marketing tact pumped into these products to make us want them.
So why all the features in the first place, did we really ask for them? In many cases it is simply because it is cheap to add features. Whether we want, or really need all those extra features isn’t the issue, manufacturers add them so they can advertise more features and increase perceived desirability. May be it costs more to carefully determine what features are most needed and to design them and the interface to them ? so that products are more useful as well as easy and intuitive to use. How often have you bought items loaded with features which sounded really good and then never used them because they too hard to use?
There is a second reason why manufacturers keep cramming more extra features into products. In the case of products such as mobile phones, sales have slowed down because most people who want one already have one, so the manufacturers keep adding features in an effort to find something that would motivate people to buy new phones. Interestingly, when did you last see a mobile phone advert mention anything important like its reception or sound quality? It is said that the progress of technology has often been marked by the “triumph of marketing over innovation”, e.g. it was understood that Sony’s Betamax was a better video format than VHS, so what happened to Betamax?
The upside of all the experimentation with features is that every now and then we are presented with a feature of real value and innovation, e.g. power steering, stereo sound, satellite navigation, DVD, Digital Camera, USB, Plug & Play etc. Unfortunately, the difficult part is deciphering which are the real features that really change the way you use something or drastically improve the results you get, from the totally useless ones.
Our advice is to look carefully at the features being offered on the products you are interested in, don’t assume that a product with more features is the better one. Often it is not, it is just more complicated to use, with more to go wrong and more expensive. At Mouse2House.co.uk we look into the products we stock and endeavor to test and select products with genuine features and added value, for maximum usability and customer satisfaction.


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