Quality vs. Shipping

One of the most frustrating tradeoffs during these years that I’ve been working on Sifter has been the degree to which I’ve cut some corners with user experience. It wasn’t a decision that I took lightly, but it was a very deliberate decision. Now that I feel like we’re finally beginning to move towards the level of quality that I would like, I’m comfortable sharing this.

For almost four years now, I’ve been using a tool that I love but that drives me crazy. A rough edge here, a sharp corner there, and a lack of general cohesiveness throughout. It’s been driving me nuts. Every day, I saw things and knew about things I wanted to fix, but every day I forced myself to look the other way and focus on the bigger picture.

You see, up until recently, the only real goal has been shipping. I strive to take great care of our existing customers first and then to get improvements out to them second. Like a cloud looming over me, I felt like we were constantly failing to quickly get key features into customer hands. If it worked reliably but maybe felt a big clunky in areas, I was ok with that in order to get it to our customers. In some cases it was a great strategy because we could then use feedback from customers to really get it right.

When there’s really only one person doing design, front-end development, back-end development, support, marketing, and a variety of other tasks, something has to give. Now, things are far from perfect, but now that I feel like we’re regularly making meaningful progress, I’m indulging myself and fixing up some of those annoying little bits. There’s still an absurd amount of work left to do, but if you’re a Sifter user, hopefully you notice extra attention the little things are receiving these days.