Software Analytics in Action – Should I Dump an Old Feature That Complicates UI Changes?

A wide range of changes will occur throughout the lifecycle of an application. Initially they may be to address bugs and add new functionality, but as a product becomes more mature and stable, product managers may struggle to balance sustaining development and new development. This is often true when applying new learnings around UI (user interface) and UX (user experience). The challenge comes when old features begin to introduce instability when new changes are made to meet current user requirements.

Should I dump an old feature that’s complicating UI changes?

ui-changes.pngOne of our customers develops practice management software, and an old application feature written in legacy code was creating big problems for its engineering team. Whenever they made a change to the UI, the feature would inevitably break — eating up additional time and resources. Despite this extra cost and effort, the engineering team was reluctant to drop the feature altogether for fear of alienating existing customers.

To determine the best resolution, product management used event tracking to identify the frequency of unique users who actively engaged with the feature. Event tracking reports showed that only a small number of users were actively engaging with the legacy feature, suggesting that its elimination would not have a major impact on existing customers.

As a result of these findings, the company decided to sunset the legacy feature and prioritize development resources on new features that would better meet the vast majority of customers’ actual usage requirements, and operate seamlessly with newer versions of the software.

Interested in learning more about software analytics in action and real-world results product managers have achieved? Download our latest ebook, Take the Guesswork out of Product Management: Building Better Applications with Software Analytics.

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