Here’s another reason to double, triple, quadruple-check yourself when you want to add a new feature. A while back Netflix added a “Profiles” feature to their service. A couple weeks ago, they decided to pull the feature because it was too confusing and it wasn’t adding value. But it was too late. People were pissed. The blog post received 1286 comments. In the face of this reaction, Netflix had to turn 180 and keep the feature. Whether Netflix Profiles are good or bad, clear or confusing, they’re here to stay.
The lesson: Once your user base has grown beyond a certain point, you cannot take features away from them. They will freak out. Whether the feature is good or bad, once you launch it you’ve married it. This changes the economics of feature additions. If you can’t destroy what you build, each addition holds the threat of clutter. Empty pixels and free space where a new feature could be added are the most valuable real estate on your app. Don’t be quick to sell it, because you can never get it back.