Measure the Difference


Every new product in the market today, tries to provide a little something extra to engage and attract customers. What matters is how pleasurable and alluring those few extra choco chips in your cookie are. Like many, I am rigid with my choices and stick to the idea once I warm up to it. I may occasionally experiment when in a group, but I stick close to my go-to haircut, lipstick shades, clothing brands, music genre, and internet browser.

As a religious and devoted user of the Chrome browser since forever, I never could get myself to try out other browsers. For one, getting used to the new UI seemed like a small yet big hindrance. But more importantly, I often asked myself, “Do I really need to use another internet browser? What could other browsers possibly offer that mine doesn’t have already? Are the extra features even relevant to my usage?” And most of the times, the plain and simple conclusion I arrived at was to stick with what I am used to.

Even though the feature was rolled out earlier this year, I only stumbled upon it a while back. Microsoft Edge, has a very handy and useful feature to offer its browsers. It is a feature called Collections, recognized with a display icon resembling two playing cards with a plus sign at the center, placed next to the search bar.

The feature essentially lets users add web pages organized in a folder-like segmented structure. One may ask, “How is it any different or better than Bookmarks or Favorites?” Well, a crisp, one-word answer is convenience. Not only does it let users add web pages, it also lets one capture sub sections of web pages. Beyond that, it lets users add notes ( like the post-its on our walls) to jot down information as and when needed with some basic text formatting options. One may also ask, “Why can I simply not use a document and paste the links and type out my notes instead?” Well, here is an answer that will delight many. Collections lets you export your stored information onto an Excel file or a Word file. The layout of the information is just as good as that in a hand typed word document, if not better.

The panel on the right end of the screen shows the Collections with saved links and notes.

The export and note options are placed next to each other.

The Word Document form of Collections export looks like the following:

Imagine working on projects, assembling and saving links after links to refer to, typing reference notes alongside and populating it into a word document to share with your team members. Or for that matter, planning a trip with your friends, compiling links of hotels and places to visit, typing in preferences and sharing it all with a click of a button!

In retrospect, I realized, products need to offer utilities and features which enhance user/customer experience in a meaningful way. That adds to convenience and ease-of-use. And while products and companies chase their differentiating features, it is important to realize that a product needs to be really robust with the essentials, and unmatchable with its differentiators superimposed. A product with a ‘below average’ essential features and a jazzy side-feature may find it difficult to take on a product with good essential features and relatively sober and mild add-ons.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — -Disclaimer: This article in no way undermines or intends to undermine personal preferences. It is written with the intention of highlighting and discussing product design ideas and strategies.