User Experience Design Blog

Commentary on strategy and design of interactive products.

Baidu Focuses on Usability Not Proliferating Features

September 13th, 2010 by Sergio Paluch

A recent Financial Times article, “Functionality remains Baidu’s priority“ (free registration required), juxtaposes Baidu’s product development philosophy with that of its chief rival, Google. The piece states that Baidu focuses on making functionality that allows the average user to get things done, while Google’s approach is pushing out a ton of “cool” features and hoping that some of them will stick. I don’t know that I quite agree with the author or Ms. Mengqiu’s assessment of Google’s product strategy, but I certainly applaud Baidu’s commitment to making features better rather than making more features. From the article:

Wang Mengqiu, senior director of technology and products, says Baidu’s product development philosophy differs from rival search company Google’s focus on “very cool” technology. “Our logic is different – we think about what users need most,” she says.

…“I don’t care that many people say Baidu can’t innovate,” she says. “You have to ask whether completely new things are needed.”…

She says Baidu would never have developed a product such as Google Earth, for example. For China’s nearly 500m internet users – Baidu’s target market – Google’s interactive world map has very little value, she argues.

“It is a dazzling, very cool product, but really think for a moment. The users we need to consider are not just high-end, well-educated users,” she says.



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