I bet somebody is looking to get a really nice bonus for that feature: Attention

Raymond Chen

I bet somebody is looking to get a really nice bonus for that feature.” A customer was having trouble with one of their features that scans for resources that their program can use, and, well, the details aren’t important. What’s important is that their feature ran in the Startup group, and as soon as it found a suitable resource, it displayed a balloon tip: “Resource XYZ has been found. Click here to add it to your resource portfolio.” We interrupted them right there. — Why are you doing this? “Oh, it’s a great feature. That way, when users run our program, they don’t have to go looking for the resources they want to operate with. We already found the resources for them.” — But why are you doing it even when your program isn’t running? The user is busy editing a document or working on a spreadsheet or playing a game. The message you’re displaying is out of context: You’re telling users about a program they aren’t even using. “Yeah, but this feature is really important to us. It’s crucial in order to remain competitive in our market.” — The message is not urgent. It’s a disruption. Why don’t you wait until they launch your program to tell them about the resources you found? That way, the information appears in context: They’re using your program, and the program tells them about these new resources.

“We can’t do that! That would be annoying!”


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