There’s no such thing as bells and whistles

Often designers are accused of or cautioned against adding “bells and whistles” to products, based on the premise that designers are like make-up artists or just put the icing on the cake.

Good designers work from the ground-up, from product vision and strategy through research and analysis to design tools for people that are perceived as usable and useful, even desirable.

There shouldn’t be so-called “bells and whistles” or superfluous features that cannot be demonstrated to have derived from requirements and objectives. There are just low- and high-value user stories, and low and high costs to implement them, and the product owner makes a decision about whether investing the time, effort and money into a low or high value feature, experience, streamlining or other change to a product is worth it.

To lump designs into a “bells and whistles” bucket shortcuts the conversation about whether an interpretation of a user story is valuable and worthwhile.

Bells and whistles

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