Marketing vs development is an interesting beast, the marketer in me always would like to see new features that I probably would never use while the developer would rather see refinements in the overall experience. Which is better?
Good marketing will get you through the door (or to quote Edwin Land, Marketing succeeds where products fail) however good development will allow you to keep the client thus a balanced approach is needed.
For a larger company this really isn’t an issue because you have enough resources to assign them to the right places to ensure the is a balance but for a smaller business that isn’t really the case.
With smaller business marketing directs the development of new features to rake in sales, I actually don’t agree with this method. You will gain the initial sale but I can guarantee there will be no long term win because the product is sold on demo rather than actual experience. This is where I think many smaller companies loose the plot, the marketing is in control due to their short term success but the creative doesn’t or can’t lead due to the fact they don’t have the runs on the board so they can long term lead.
I’ve recently been in an issue similar to this where the focus of the system has purely been directed by the sales success but has neglected to get the basic done right like user experience and overall stability of the system. To me as a Senior Designer user experience on any system trumps new features, to clarify further a well designed user interface and considered experience will help me produce graphics much better than “eye candy” or sales features.
Though I am not a decision maker I do understand it's the day to day operation and experience that will dictate whether or not a system will be reinstated for further operation. The best way to ensure customers are happy is with UX/UI and stability, workers will always give feedback to their management if the system should be kept or not. If it's an awesome experience this will be relayed to management while staff moving between studios will inform their boss come tender time.
The eye candy is great for the initial sales pipeline, that will wet the appetite of the key stakeholders. It's the day to day operation staff that will keep the company using it. What makes a piece of software is that people within the industry will let others know if it’s killer or not, this creates a brand presence and loyalty. The best example of this is JIRA, FCP vs FCPX.
The most logical way of putting this, good design is invisible bad design isn't. When designing I always refer back to Rams' Ten Principals because it really puts you on the right track.
1. Good design is innovative.
2. Good design makes a product useful.
3. Good design is aesthetic.
4. Good design makes a product understandable.
5. Good design is unobtrusive.
6. Good design is honest.
7. Good design is long-lasting.
8. Good design is thorough down to the last detail.
9. Good design is environmentally friendly.
10. Good design is as little design as possible.
Still there’s generally only a handful of things most designers actually do for day to day creative, so making the workflow far more logical and streamlined makes sense and cents in the long run because it creates productivity.
AE has far more features than Motion, but the overall experience with UI/UX, hardware acceleration, workflow and templates means I work faster and easier, this is the reason why I would choose a “lower end” product with Motion purely because of the overall experience.
New features without adding to efficiency and developing the experience won’t be useful and won’t retain clients for vendors or studios.