I have a reading proposal for you: Marc Hedlund’s “Why Wesabe Lost to Mint“. Wesabe and Mint were competing to be the best free web-based personal financial management services.
In retrospect, he has some insightful notes on how important end user experience turned out to be:
[...] Mint focused on making the user do almost no work at all, by automatically editing and categorizing their data, reducing the number of fields in their signup form, and giving them immediate gratification as soon as they possibly could; we completely sucked at all of that. Instead, I prioritized trying to build tools that would eventually help people change their financial behavior for the better, which I believed required people to more closely work with and understand their data. My goals may have been (okay, were) noble, but in the end we didn’t help the people I wanted to since the product failed. I was focused on trying to make the usability of editing data as easy and functional as it could be; Mint was focused on making it so you never had to do that at all.
My highlights in bold.
Read more: Marc Hedlund’s “Why Wesabe Lost to Mint” (October 1st 2010)