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When your client wants crazy features

Sometimes our stakeholders ask for features that are counter to generally good ux and design practice. In the last six months, I’ve had clients say this to me:

  • are not user centric: “let’s make this feature so we can can show it in sales demos. We don’t need it for the product but it really will convince people to buy because it has sizzle “
  • break standard usability practice: “Can we have a modal when the user clicks on this radio button?”
  • are outside of scope: “Let’s use Amazon’s model so we can put them out of business”

So, what do we do about that? It’s a tough situation because they feel so sure and so strongly about it. Here’s what I say to get out of it:

  • “Show me a few examples of that idea working well”
  • “Help me understand how that helps to move the needle or meet the business goals we outlined”
  • “Can we write a scenario around the idea you have?”
  • “Let’s estimate how many points it would take to build that?”
  • “Sure.” Then I either user test, let it float to the bottom of the priority list, or if it’s an inexpensive feature, actually build it and let the client see/learn why it doesn’t work well.


  1. Steven Yap says:

    One way I like to do is to offer my opinion on why the idea sucks (in a very professional way of course) and then say that “I could be wrong as the world is changing fast” so client don’t feel that I am overbearing and becomes receptive to my opinion.
    And sometimes (just sometimes), we ARE wrong. :)

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