6 Ways To Counteract Feature Blindness - UserActive

6 Ways To Counteract Feature Blindness

Feature Blindness

SaaS users tend to focus on the features that are most important to them, creating an issue called feature blindness. This tends to happen gradually over time and poses a problem for your SaaS in more ways than one. In this article, we are sharing 6 ways to counteract feature blindness and increase retention.

What is Feature Blindness 

Software users often become accustomed to using familiar features and forget about other valuable features they may benefit from. Over time, users form habits and develop their behavioural patterns and workflows based on the features they use most often, becoming “blind” to other features. This is called feature blindness.

How Feature Blindness Impacts Your SaaS 

Feature blindness can negatively impact your SaaS. If your users can’t find what they need or are blind to the features most beneficial to them, they aren’t experiencing the full value of your product. This can provoke a disparity between the perceived value and the actual value of your product. If users feel they aren’t getting enough value from your product, they will likely switch to a different product. In short, feature blindness contributes to lower retention rates.

Why it Happens 

Our brains are hardwired to filter out unnecessary stimuli and information. Without this ability, we would easily become distracted, overwhelmed with information and unable to focus on what is most important. This is why we become blind to certain features over time, focusing on the ones we are familiar with even if there are better features available.

If the full value of your software is not being realised, try following these tips to ensure the features you’ve worked hard to create are getting noticed.

Behavioural cohort analysis

Active Users, sometimes referred to as Power Users, are key in identifying the features that will translate to long-term retention. These users are actively using your product and have been for a while. They’re engaged in the process and familiar with the features, flaws and advantages of your product.

By conducting a behavioural cohort analysis, you can pinpoint the features that will lead to long-term retention. Another great way to gain deeper insight into the weaknesses and strengths of your product is to conduct user interviews.

Activate Features Using Educational Content

Feature blindness causes users to adopt certain features that they use frequently, eventually limiting their use habits to a specific set of features. To avoid this, it is a good idea to focus on activating your features. Additionally, re-launch less used features as if they were new to shine a spotlight on them. Prior to a product update, Microsoft asked users which features they’d most like to see in the update and over 90% of users requested features that already existed. As your product develops over time, it is easy to forget to make your features discoverable. By using educational content, product marketing and in-app activation, you can raise awareness of your features and ensure they become an integral part of your users’ workflow.

Teamwork uses educational content like workshops to help inform users

Segmenting Users for Personalisation

Segmenting users by persona will give you further insight into what is considered a valuable feature for different sets of users. What is valuable for one user may not be useful to another. For this reason, it is important to delve into the different user personas to better understand the needs of each. This way you can ensure the appropriate features are presented to the users who will find them most beneficial.

Launch new features with in-app announcements for existing users

Constantly collecting data and using it to make important improvements is what successful SaaS companies do. With time, the needs of your users will change. For this reason, it is important to be listening to customer feedback and keeping an eye on the evolving needs of your users. Use this information to improve your product and make feature updates. New users will undoubtedly be introduced to new features during onboarding, but it is important not to forget about existing users.

When new updates are introduced, make sure your existing users also get the opportunity to discover the new updates. This is especially vital to those users who have been using your product for some time. They likely won’t be as apt to look for new features due to feature blindness. Even if the new features are helpful, assume existing users have built habits surrounding the features that they are familiar with. Bring new features to their attention with a new feature introduction, as AppCues has done in the example below.

Make the most of email updates

Apart from in-app notifications and pop-ups, make use of your mailing list to update users. Sometimes infrequent users can miss in-app updates.

Reach out with an email to inform users of upcoming updates they can expect, and another to let them know when new features are live. This will draw more attention to the new features and highlight the extra value that users will experience by adopting them.

This email update from Canva is a great example

Feature discovery using modals

If your product is most commonly used as a Google Chrome extension, like Loom, for example, users may not often be in the actual app. If that is the case, it is important to find another way to get users up to date with the latest feature improvements. Modals are a great way to achieve this. Employ contextual modals to assist users in finding and learning how to use features they are unaware of.

Final words

It is important to be aware of feature blindness while designing and making improvements to your product. Many features are hidden in plain sight. Users just need an extra push to discover and use the features available to them. These 6 ways to counteract feature blindness in your product will help you to improve your product, get more users, and grow.

If you need help to counteract feature blindness in your product, book a free, 15-minute call with a SaaS expert.

Sarah Stratton

Sarah manages the social media at UserActive as well as other marketing activities. She also writes blog content for UserActive.

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