How to choose features for your application: use the Kano model

    So, you are planning to make a product. Not a project, but a product, which in X months should appear in the stores and begin its movement towards the stars. You are confident in your strengths and knowledge, and the number of new ideas that can turn into real killer features is just off the charts. It's time to say “stop!” and figure out what should come with your very first release version.

    After you have painted all the characteristics of the future product, you need to determine development priorities. The first desire is to rank according to the complexity of the implementation. It is logical, especially if the resource is limited - it makes no sense to build a Titanic, when for the first overcoming of the Rubicon you just need a nimble and stable boat. Following the precepts of customer development, you will only increase functionality in the future: the main thing is that you will not miss the mark in architecture.

    So, we make a quick boat. But the choice is still not easy - even from relatively simple details you need to determine the set that will become your release candidate. And here you will come to the aid of a model that was invented in the 70s of the last century by the Japanese scientist Noriaki Kano. On "Habré" there was already a text about using its model for solving UX problems. This approach is also applicable to product functions - because they are also responsible for the emotional reactions of consumers. Kano suggested that there are five types of reactions: from complete hostility to admiration. The Japanese set out these types on one graph, where the vertical axis showed the user's emotional reaction (dislike - admiration), and the horizontal - the “quantitative” value of the characteristic (no - a lot).

    Product Feature Types. Image from

    Kano Characteristic Types

    Opinions differ, how many types of characteristics are worth highlighting. The most common option is three, the less popular one is five. To begin with - about each of them with examples from the field of mobile products.

    1. Attractive. Your killer features. Nobody has them yet (maybe someone just doesn’t place emphasis on this characteristic). While there are no such characteristics in the product, the user is not worried, he simply does not know what can be so cool.
    Examples: For Snapchat, this is disappearing messages; for Twitter, a mobile update at the start of the project; for Candy Crash Saga, a new form of socialization.

    2. One-dimensional. Linear relationship. If there are few characteristics, this is bad; if there are many, good.
    Example: Download speed of the first active screen. The faster a person waits for the end of the rotational movements of various kinds of “gears” as a symbol of what the “application thinks”, the better his emotional reaction will be. It is no coincidence that many people are “hiding” the main content in the “resume”, putting aside the user negative for later. Controversial decision.

    3. Mandatory. "This is not discussed, baby." All your competitors have this characteristic and, more importantly, is also expected by your users in your product.
    Example: Notification of the status of a message in instant messengers - “Delivered”, “Read”. Should I exclude this option from your IM? We doubt it. As well as the option of a visible window for entering text. Also standard.

    4. Unimportant. Nobody cares. There is a characteristic, there is none - it pleases no one, but also does not annoy. Increasing its quantitative indicators or decreasing, you will not get any effect. Visible during A / B testing.
    Example: The “Authors” section within the application (not to be confused with the preloader, which is rather a mandatory feature: no one likes noname products). Your vanity is of little concern to the user, of course, if you do not drop the list of project participants on the first screen.

    5. Unwanted. “Take it away, immediately.” Most often, these options are very useful to you as a developer, but infuriate users.
    Example: We refer to such hard pay-or-go blockers. There is a popular “Sell a friend” solution - look at the relatively recent Wooga Jelly Splash example. Another option is the “weight” of the application in megabytes. Although this characteristic can be attributed to one-dimensional, only with the note “the less the better.”

    How to use it

    - Do not take the current type of characteristic as static. Everything is changing. What is your highlight today will be the market standard tomorrow. Always review the status of characteristics. Even unwanted ones can change their status, for example, after removing technical restrictions.

    - Unnecessary and undesirable characteristics are often removed from the list of types. You decide. In any case, the characteristics of the first three types should be given key attention during development.

    - Clearly separate the emotional attitude to the characteristics - yours and your users. Who will feel better from the fact that “a genius has remained incomprehensible”? In the book Waltzing with the Bears, Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister argue that the choice of versions for the early stages of delivery is based on two criteria: customer value and confirmation of hypotheses about possible risks. The first is about you, the second is about your users.

    - Do not guess, check. For this, there are focus groups, A / V tests and the legendary soft launch on a small audience that is maximally relevant to your target. The main thing is to clearly state the hypothesis and not allow the mixing of variables.

    - Analyze competitors - and do not say “we have no competitors”. There may not be a product similar to yours on the market. You are not competing “with whom”, but “for what”. Understand what your audience who uses other products needs. Subscribe through appbot or any other similar service to all the reviews in the store about competitor applications. A lot of information for consideration, continuous emotions!

    All types of characteristics on the example of one game

    Let's try to conduct a small analysis of the characteristics of the example of Jelly Splash. In our opinion, the game is an example of successful cloning. Taking a simple linear story from the hit Candy Crush Saga with the involvement of a social graph, wooga confirmed the attractiveness of this characteristic. But the very use of a social graph through the actively propagated connection of a Facebook account is a one-dimensional characteristic. The user can see friends on the timeline - through their achieved levels, the player’s long-term goals are enhanced. With the help of friends, the player will be able to unlock the transition to a new location or receive “energy”: the absence of hard pay-or-go blockers has become another mandatory feature of modern games. The results of friends at each specific level are their third use within the product, affecting medium-term goals.

    The cross-platform of the game must be attributed to the mandatory characteristics - with the same authorization via Facebook, you can save progress on iPhone, iPad and Facebook. The author of the popular blog Deconstructor of fun (link ) writes about the difference between the clone and the original ) - a hard disk is introduced in Jelly Splash -currency and removed the ability to directly purchase content or consumables.

    Related Links - Using the Kano model on the example of a TV remote. - A detailed article on how to determine the type of a particular characteristic by interviewing users. An interesting addition in the form of segmentation of your audience. - A service for recording user behavior in a mobile application in a video. - Privacy Policy Generator for your mobile application. This is a mandatory feature, there is no getting around. - View mockups on mobile phone screen emulators - Use your address book as a viral channel.

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