How we decide on Wireless DJ features

The users of Wireless DJ ask us: why isn’t there feature X or feature Y? There are some apps on the App Store that have more features than we do, but our customers like the polish and the friendliness of Wireless DJ. So while some choose to switch to TouchOSC or something else, many people prefer to stay with us. I’d like to explain how we decide on features.

First of all, we are very limited on screen real estate. Since there is no shortage of ideas, adding every single one of them will quickly bloat the product and lower its quality. We carefully test our layouts to make sure they not only look good, but also feel solid and don’t provoke mistakes. Imagine we add everything that comes to our minds, whether it’s a great feature or just a “why not” feature. What do we do when a truly awesome feature comes to our minds? We’ll have to either make things smaller and put them closer to each other, or remove something. But we don’t want to compromise on usability. And removing features is painful for the customers.

Wireless DJ exists because there are some things which you either can’t or won’t want to do with keyboard or mouse. Pitch bending with a keyboard is very unnatural and counter-intuitive. Simultaneous tweaking of multiple knobs with mouse is impossible. These things we must have. Play and Cue can be assigned to a keyboard, but by putting them next to the Magic Strips (our awesome pitch bend / direct manipulation controls) we make them together much more useful for cue point search. So we have these, too.

But we think it’s fine to use your laptop for actions like managing the playlist or adjusting the Trim knobs, because you don’t have to do it constantly during your mix or simultaneously with other actions. These are obvious omissions from our interface, but we don’t see how adding them will make the experience significantly better.

And as we know from Steve Jobs, focus is about saying „No“ to things. In addition, we know from Raymond Chen that you don’t have a product until you start saying „No‘. Finally, we know from Jim Camp that you should always say „No‘ to everything whatsoever (not really). So it’s important to have a filter or at least a method to prioritize features. What’s yours?